I always find December a bit of a peculiar month in business terms. It’s not the end of the financial year for most businesses so there’s not a full set of figures to look at. However one can’t help but reflect on how things have been during the calendar year and think, yet again, where on earth did that year go…?
I’m pleased to say that for BB&J Commercial it has been a year where we have gained a lot of ‘traction’ in business terms, meaning business performance has improved as we have been able to capitalise on our increased profile and successes to further increase our profile, which in turn leads to more instructions and more success. As I sit here writing this, I’d like to think we have continued our climb up towards the top rankings of commercial property agents, and offer a genuine alternative to some of our obvious competitors.
In particular the year has seen us successfully completing a record number of agency deals across the region involving blue chip and international businesses.
We started off with a bang in January with the completion of a lease on a 12,000 sq ft unit to Blue Sky Industries on Westside Park on behalf of retained clients Derbyshire Investments. Blue Sky are an internationally renowned business who are a key player in the Rolls-Royce supply chain. BB&J were pleased to have played our part in relocating them into Derby from elsewhere in the UK. As proud Marketing Derby Bondholders we are always delighted to see businesses coming to the city.
In March we landed the instruction of 29,000 sq ft of space ‘to let’ across five brand new industrial units at Eagle Park on Alfreton Road. Constructed by Ivygrove, these prestigious units are available individually at circa 6,000 sq ft each or they can be combined to make larger space. Some are still available so contact us for further information.
April saw the conclusion of a letting on an 8,000 sq ft industrial unit in Derby to Swedish rail company Dellner, whilst in June we completed on a newsworthy deal securing the letting of a former Motorhome dealership to Central Midlands Co-Op on a 15 year lease for a new store in Ashbourne, bringing 25 jobs to the town. This was shortly followed by the letting of 650 City Gate, Derby to US tooling manufacturing company MA Ford as their new European HQ offices in their centenary year.
If 2018 proved anything, it was that the property investment market remains very strong, and it was here that we achieved some of our greatest successes:
In September we completed the sale of the 33,000sq ft warehouse premises Beresford House in Alfreton on behalf of PMW Properties. Part occupied by Howdens Joinery, the property was initially being marketed to let on the vacant space, however thanks to our team thinking outside of the box and keeping their finger on the pulse we were able to satisfy a larger requirement and sold the whole building to luxury clothing manufacturer David Nieper for £1.5 million.
This was followed in September by an investment sale of three units at Centurion Way in Derby occupied predominately by Euro Car Parts. Such was the interest we had to go to a sealed bids scenario and achieved a figure reflecting a very healthy 7% yield.
At the same time we put together an off-market deal for the freehold sale of the prestigious 8,000 sq ft Technology House office building on Pride Park, Derby on behalf of Total Integrated Solutions to a local investor. We were aware that the owners wanted to achieve a sale and on a purely speculative basis lined up an investor who completed on the deal in a very quick timescale to the satisfaction of all parties.
Also after significant interest we disposed of veterinary surgery premises in Mickleover which was let on a long term lease to Scarsdale Vets LLP. We had previously advised the client of our thoughts on marketing and value and were delighted to achieve a sale at a very robust figure, again after going to sealed bids.
Recognition from the property industry for our individual and team efforts came in the form of the Estates Gazette Dealmaker of the Year Award to Graham Bancroft (the third time in recent years someone from BB&J has scooped this), and BB&J were also named in the top three for Derbyshire Dealmakers of the Year.
We are also extremely pleased that BB&J Commercial had their contract as sole agents for Bolsover and North East Derbyshire District Councils renewed on a multi-year agreement for the third successive time, meaning we have now been retained by them for nearly a decade. Along with other local authorities, public bodies and charities that we act for, we now provide advice for a growing number of clients across the public sector.
Away from agency we have remained constantly busy undertaking ‘Red Book’ valuation work on a wide variety of property for our commercial bank clients, as well as for pension funds and public sector bodies. Valuation work is often something that remains under the radar due to confidentiality, but it nevertheless remains one of the corner stays of our business along with other professional work such as rent reviews, lease renewals and other Landlord and Tenant matters.
A particular speciality service BB&J can provide is in Expert Witness work. Whilst I have now been an RICS Registered Expert for several years, this year I had to undergo a rigorous periodic reassessment process in front of a panel of assessors (including a High court Judge) to be appointed to the RICS Presidents Panel. To say it was a somewhat stressful experience would be putting it mildly. There are a limited number of surveyors recognised by the RICS across the UK for their ability to help the legal profession bring resolution to property disputes in matters before the Courts and I am pleased to be able to provide reports for valuation and litigation purposes across a wide range of property.
Of course none of our success would be possible without having such a strong and dedicated team, and it is to them the thanks must go for what we have achieved.
Looking forward to 2019 there is of course an element of uncertainty in the air around Brexit and how this will affect us all. Whilst such uncertainty can cause concerns, the team here at BB&J Commercial always strive to maintain a positive attitude, and we will continue to do so. We have grown our business on the basis of good professional advice, excellent service and not least a good sense of humour. These are all traits that our clients value us for and we commit to maintaining them.
Don’t forget you can keep up with us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and most importantly by signing up for our monthly BB&J Bulletin where you can find out about all our new to market properties as well as deals done and other insights.
Finally, we’d like to wish all of you an enjoyable Christmas and prosperous New Year, and we look forward to catching up with you in 2019.