Insider Deal of the Year Award

Cooke & Arkwright's Investment department wins award for sale of Admiral House in Newport

4 June 2015

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Graham Davies, Investment Director picked up the award for Property Deal of the Year at Insider Wales Property Awards 2015 held at the Marriott Hotel in Cardiff on 3rd June.

The sale of Admiral's 83,000 sq ft Newport HQ for £20m had, said one judge, "taken a run-down part of Newport and improved it dramatically". Insider said that 'Admiral's new office in Newport was sold in a complex deal while building work was going on all around'. Cooke & Arkwright acted as joint agents with CBRE advising Scarborough Development Group on the sale of the site to W. P. Carey in one of the biggest investment transactions in 2014, which showed a yield of 6.4%. The property is leased to Admiral Group for 20 years. The insurance giant became the first Welsh-based FTSE 100 firm and now employs several thousand people worldwide. Founder Henry Engelhardt announced recently that he is to step down from the top role in 2016 after 25 years in the business.

Graham Davies said the complexities involved selling an office component as part of the wider redevelopment scheme of Station Quarter. "There were legal technicalities in creating a saleable asset within the context of ongoing work encompassing the site," he said. "We had to advise the client when best to release the opportunity to the market, either as forward funding or forward commitment. We also had to identify the desirability of Newport at a time when Friars Walk had yet to commence and turn Newport into the growing success story it is today."

The marketing strategy needed to persuade people to make a substantial investment and was successfully targeted at overseas money. American fund W. P. Carey acquired the asset and said that Admiral was a well-capitalised business with a long term commitment to the facility.

Mr Davies said he was delighted to have picked up the award on behalf of everyone involved. "I must confess they caught me a bit by surprise," he said. "You don't go expecting these things but it's a great award to receive and we are delighted in particular to secure a successful result for our client, Scarborough Developments. We look forward to the completion of the remaining leisure/retail component of the wider Station Quarter scheme which will be further good news for Newport city centre."