‘Phenomenal’ year for city centre lettings market

Strong occupier and investment demand despite Brexit

21 December 2016
  • Central Square Cardiff Cooke & Arkwright
  • Brunel House Cardiff Cooke & Arkwright
  • House of Fraser Cardiff Cooke & Arkwright
  • Toby Travelodge & Carvery Cardiff Cooke & Arkwright

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As one of Wales’ largest independent commercial property specialists, we are delighted to have been named ‘Most Active Agent’ in south Wales for securing the highest number of deals in 2016. The title was received from Estates Gazette after we advised on some of 2016’s most high profile deals, including the acquisition of House of Fraser in Cardiff by Rosette Merchant Bank on behalf of Middle Eastern investors - one of the largest deals of the year. Other flagship deals included Motonovo Finance’s 70,000 sq ft acquisition of office space at Central Square and the 55,000 sq ft letting at Brunel House to the HMRC.

2016 has been a strong year for investment deals as a result of increased demand for property investments offering attractive income return for private investors, particularly overseas investors.

The Grade B office market in Cardiff has also been particularly active, and around 50% of deals have been in smaller towns outside of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, demonstrating a further rise in demand from tenants for out of city locations.

In addition to the strong performance in the deal market throughout south Wales, our management team has increased the number of assets under management on behalf of investors, and our lease advisory team has seen growth in instructions in response to strong demand for office space in Cardiff.

As a result of this growth, a number of strategic promotions were made earlier this year which saw five key staff promoted to director, associate director and associate levels within the firm.

Andrew Gardner, Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have won the Estates Gazette’s Most Active Agent in south Wales. Our agency teams have worked hard throughout the year to deliver deals for our clients.

“2016 has been a phenomenal year for the city centre lettings market, despite the Brexit vote. To the end of Q3 office space lettings in Cardiff were up 61% on the same time last year. With the increase in demand for Grade A and Grade B space in Cardiff, yet limited supply, significant further opportunities exist for investors and developers.

“The revaluation of business rates in April 2017 will be a key focus for us and we will be working with clients to identify their requirements and simplify the process of appealing rates bills to ensure they save money where possible.

“In 2017, we hope to see progress being made with the Newport M4 relief road and electrification of train line to Cardiff to ensure the delivery of the infrastructure improvements that are so vital to occupier and investment demand in south Wales.”

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