Cooke & Arkwright marks growth and celebrates 120 years doing business in Wales

15 December 2020
  • Cooke & Arkwright Directors Cardiff 120 years in commercial property in Wales

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Despite the unprecedented global events of 2020, we are celebrating our 120th anniversary with another successful 12 months, building on the 25% growth we have achieved over the past four years.

Significant deals in the last year have included the off-market investment acquisition of Cardiff Gate motorway service station for £10m, the sale of two further phases of the flagship Plasdŵr residential development in North West Cardiff, and advising businesses on saving £5.75m of business rates for the 2020/21 period.

Cooke & Arkwright has also remained the retained agent for a number of high profile businesses in South Wales, including Burger King and Greggs, and has recently been appointed as retained agent for Parmer Cardiff Waterside, resuming a long and leading involvement in the Cardiff Bay office market.

The firm was also reappointed by The Crown Estate as managing agent of its coastal portfolio around Wales for a further five years, managing some of the country’s most important assets.

Mike Lawley, chairman of Cooke & Arkwright said: “We’re proud to be celebrating our 120th year as the largest firm of independent commercial property advisors in Wales, especially as we have been based and headquartered in Wales since we were founded in 1900.

“The property market in Wales has changed significantly and become much more sophisticated over this time. We are proud to have been involved in some truly landmark property projects, transactions and appointments over the years which have helped to shape our country as we know it.  As we look forward, the Cooke & Arkwright team is as hungry today to serve clients well and win new work as we have ever been, and I am proud of how well everyone has performed during what has been one of the most challenging years in memory.”

Andrew Gardner, managing director of Cooke & Arkwright added: “We have put significant proactive investment over the last three years into both technology and talent, and this has served us well in the unexpected turn of events in 2020. Our IT investment enabled us to move seamlessly to home working within a matter of days of lockdown and our staff have embraced flexible working practices to work more efficiently for clients. And because we are busy, we have continued to recruit and grow our staff numbers despite the pandemic, with five new staff, including three new graduate surveyors, joining us in 2020.

“Although we operate across the UK in sectors such as investment and retail agency, and business rates advice, our focus as a business is still on Wales, and many of our clients refer to Cooke & Arkwright as their “go to” property advisors here. This is a great endorsement but not something we take lightly. Wales is the market in which we have worked and served for 120 years, and as a business owned and led by an experienced board of directors living and working here, our commitment to our clients and the Welsh property market is stronger than ever.

“As a result of new work streams and growing market share in some areas, we have increased turnover by 25% over the last four years. We expect 2021 to be another very busy year across all markets, but also an exciting one with new opportunities.

“As we move into a post-pandemic, post Brexit world where the only certainty is that things will be different, this is a great challenge to have. Our aim is to continue our growth, continue to provide clients with a wide and full range of high-quality property services, and continue to invest in our business and our people.”

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