Spring 2016 proving very active for Cooke & Arkwright’s Investment team

Volume of properties disposed of or being marketed highest for 12 months

3 May 2016

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Cooke & Arkwright’s investment team is being kept busy with the volume of office and retail property it has disposed of or is marketing for sale at its highest volume for 12 months. Nick Lawley, Investment Director comments, “The team is always very active in the South Wales market, and spring 2016 is no exception with a growing number of vendors approaching us to help them maximise their assets through a sale. As investors continue to look beyond London to the regions, the increasing opportunities to acquire high yielding properties presents opportunities for vendors. They come to us because they appreciate our knowledge of the occupational market, our access to a pool of Welsh investors, excellent connections via our London office, and our long experience in the disposal and acquisition of investment properties.

“We have just sold a 100% prime retail investment comprising six retail units in Red Street, Carmarthen, where 90% of the income is secured against well-known national tenants including Boots Pharmacy, Bright House, Boots Opticians, Body Shop and O2. The site was also attractive because it offered future development potential in a town which is the dominant retail destination in Carmarthenshire. There are very few vacant retail units in the vicinity and tenant demand is strong. The disposal attracted strong interest from institutional investors and has just been sold to a UK pension fund.

“Currently attracting strong interest is an 8,000 sq ft retail unit in Abergavenny, let to Argos, and a prime site in Neath let to Greggs Bakery Plc. Both properties are under offer and we hope to close both deals in the next few weeks. We are also currently marketing Severnside House in Cardiff, which is a 30,230 sq ft office building single let to Lloyds Bank Plc, and anticipate good interest from investors in this.”

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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