Blake Morgan
Securing new Welsh headquarters for leading law firm resulting in first pre-let at city's new business district Central Square

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Ben Bolton
Office Agency; Industrial Agency

(029) 20 346346

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  • Recently merged law firm Blake Morgan wanted to consider future property requirments against an impending lease expiry and evolving Cardiff office sector.
  • They wanted to establish if current building would remain fit for purpose for the medium term (apx 10 years) providing value for money and capable of achieving a profile and working environment fit for a modern law practice.
  • Concern over both physical attributes and location; having occupied current building for 25 years in what was then the established professional core of the city; this core was now migrating to the south side of the city.
  • Blake Morgan wanted to ensure that any deal achieved best value both in terms of headline leasehold costs and occupational costs over the life of their next lease.


  • Preparation of report to provide an overview of the Cardiff office market establishing context and background to activity leading up to the instruction, along with our views and forecast for further evolution of the city.
  • Ben Bolton was lead contact, liaising closely with principals in the law firm to establish range of views on propety requirements and key drivers and overriding brief to achieve a property solution.
  • Comprehensive market search, identifying all existing and future property options; analysis of property characteristics, pros and cons, together with their context within the overall city, and views on headline rents and potential incentives.
  • Advise and detailed dialogue to confirm shortlist of credible options.
  • Detailed feedback on each option led to shortlist of three properties where we negotiated best and final terms.
  • Three developer/landlords invited to present to Blake Morgan board for final consideration.
  • Final reports and conclusions, including a Cooke & Arkwright presentation to Blake Morgan, led to a preferred option.
  • Preparation and agreement for detailed heads of terms for final agreement to lease; working with legal representatives through to completion.


  • The client has secured a more efficient working environment which has allowed them to occupy a slightly reduced overall square footage without a reduction in staff numbers.
  • One Capital Square is a building in the heart of the newly emerging office core of Central Square, adjacent to the proposed BBC headquarters.
  • A favourable financial package ensuring best possible cost from the outset and throughout the lease.

Cooke & Arkwright have been providing rating valuation advice to The Welsh Rugby Union Limited (“WRU”) and Millennium Stadium plc for many years. They were recently successful in achieving substantial reductions in the assessments of the Millennium Stadium, covering both the 2005 and 2010 rating list. These negotiated reductions yielded savings of c.£3.5m which, crucially, allows the WRU to re-invest in rugby throughout Wales. They advise the WRU across the group portfolio including the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan. The valuation issues across the WRU portfolio are complex requiring a high level of understanding of the funding and finances of professional sport in Wales. Cooke & Arkwright’s experience and understanding of these issues and application to the rating valuation have yielded these substantial negotiated reductions. The WRU and the Millennium Stadium entrust our work to organisations with the required levels in experience and expertise in dealing with these complex issues. I am glad to say we have this expertise in Wales. I would have no hesitation in recommending ratepayers making use of this Welsh based expertise.

Steve Phillips, Group Finance Director, Welsh Rugby Union Group