Interview with Richard Priestly MD of following the recent acquisition of St Nicholas Court a Commercial Office Property on Castle Gate Nottingham.

Home / Commercial Property / Interview with Richard Priestly MD of following the recent acquisition of St Nicholas Court a Commercial Office Property on Castle Gate Nottingham.
Six months on and we revisit and their latest office acquisition St Nicholas Court 25 to 27 Castle Gate, Nottingham. We talked with Managing Director Richard Priestley: So Richard, you acquired this building in the thick of what has been described as the most difficult trading conditions for 70 years in the commercial property sector. Was that a foolhardy or smart move and why? To be fair it was almost a bit of both. The property was first identified as a target by our CEO a few of years back. Basically, it was approximately 60% vacant but at that time the  requirement to pay “empty rates liability” had not kicked in so the price tag, whilst much higher than what was eventually paid, was almost justified. So why wasn’t the building acquired at that time? Well I said almost, and in our book almost is not good enough. If we are entering a relationship where we are risking third party funds as well as our own we have to be certain that the numbers stack up. Our CEO David Ajose has an instinctive and intuitive grasp of the figures and will only do a deal if the numbers are right. In addition, the agents had struggled to let the vacant space and with murmurs about the introduction of rates demands on empty properties looming we decided to hold off. Why do you think the building proved hard to let, until Exeid came along and what did you do different? Well, it’s interesting that when we were first shown around the building we were taken through the main entrance to the right of the picture. But you’ll notice that the building actually has three entrances. In addition the building is built on sloping ground, therefore the combined effect of entering through the one entrance and circling around the courtyard, whilst the floor levels changed beneath you was, putting it mildly, quite disorientating. David realized that the solution to this problem was to reinstate the door on number 25 and the door in the centre of the building in effect, creating three buildings around a courtyard with each organization using the most obvious door.
St Nicholas Court
And did this work? Absolutely we have now let or have terms agreed with all but 1400 sq ft of the 13,000 sq ft that was vacant. By September this year we will be 100% let and occupied. So what type of tenants do you have in the building? We have mainly government tenants on decent leases (5 years +). We also agreed to make space available on flexible serviced terms and two clients have chosen this option in return for paying a slight premium on the rental element. It works well because there are no ‘dilapidations’ demands at the end of the term, but the client can convert to a traditional tenancy once they are settled and comfortable that the space will work for them in the long term. Isn’t this a little risky? No not at all. Look, you need to be flexible in the current climate and give the customer what they require. The days of dictating terms to tenants have gone (not that we have ever operated that way). The directors and staff of Exeid do not come from a property background and we are, therefore, not constrained by the “traditional “rules of the game where the only thing on the table is the size and price. We carry out a full and detailed consultation before we show the client/tenant any space then once we have a full picture of their needs the work begins. We are able to offer a complete solution from finding the ideal space, to fitting out and providing IT Telecoms and furniture if required. We‘ll even organize the cleaning. In fact we will accommodate any request as long as it’s legal and the client is happy to pay for it. Do you work with the local agents? Yes we do. It has taken a little while for some of the agents to accept us as they didn’t initially understand our unorthodox approach, but we now have excellent working relationships with most of the Nottingham agents. In particular LSH Innes England FHP & HEB, have all benefited financially form collaboration with Exeid and we hope to do much more business in partnership with them in the future. A final word? We welcome discussions with any landlord or tenant with a problem to solve. I know it’s corny, but we guarantee to Exeid their expectations (Richard laughs.) To contact Richard Priestley send an email by clicking here. To contact David Ajose send an email by clicking here. Visit by clicking here.

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