The North West Property Awards (NWPAs) 2016: Commercial industry winners
Back and bigger than ever, The NWPAs, previously known as the Your Move Property Awards, was significantly expanded for its 14th year to recognise the commercial and residential property sectors across the whole of the North West. Taking place in Lutyens Crypt at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, the event saw over 250 guests enjoy a glamorous cocktail reception before sitting down to a luxurious meal and the awards presentation hosted by comedian and actor Neil Fitzmaurice, followed by live music and dancing.
Words by Lawrence Saunders
Best Commercial Scheme Sponsored by Elliot Group
WINNER: Muse Developments
Muse Developments was successful in the first commercial category of the evening for its City Place development in Chester.
The £120 million project aims to create a focal point in the city’s commercial quarter and will eventually provide over 500,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation.
Earlier this year, Muse officially launched the six-storey One City Place – the first phase of the development and Chester’s maiden speculative BREEAM Excellent office building.
“We’re absolutely delighted,” says Nick Hague project manager at Muse Developments, who accepted the award on the night alongside Catherine Beaumont, communications manager at Muse.
“Hopefully it’s the first of many schemes in Chester for the company – we’ve been massively successful with occupiers moving in and aim to be 65-70% let by the end of the year.”
Falconer Chester Hall was named runner-up for its Tower Wharf development in Birkenhead which has provided Wirral’s business offer with 48,000 sq ft of Grade A office space.
“We are extremely pleased with the recognition we have received for our work on this project,” says Adam Hall, managing director at Falconer Chester Hall.
“We were required to design a building that would set the standard for future development in this important enterprise zone and came up with a scheme that satisfied this aspiration and completely met the needs of the client.”
Capital & Centric’s Lightbox scheme, also in Birkenhead, completed the shortlist.
Best Commercial Let Sponsored by Bridging Finance Solutions
WINNER: Worthington Owen & Keppie Massie
Open to commercial lets for office, retail, industrial and hotel space right across the North West, this year’s deal saw the relocation of marine consultant and surveying firm Brookes Bell Group from the soon-to-be redeveloped Martins Building on Water Street to Exchange Flags.
The deal for 11,500 sq ft at the prominent office building was jointly completed by Worthington Owen and Keppie Massie who had the task of finding a space to accommodate a growing business whilst ensuring the move was as seamless as possible for its staff.
“It’s been a team effort between ourselves and Worthington Owen,” explains Tony Reed, associate partner at Keppie Massie and chair of the Property Group at Professional Liverpool.
“We’re delighted that we’ve taken a building which was very empty to being almost full – it’s a great moment and it’s nice to have a reward.”
Property Apprentice of the Year Sponsored by The Foundry Agency
WINNER: Ben Finch – Redrow
The new Property Apprentice award celebrated an individual who has made a significant contribution to their workplace, and judges were impressed with the high calibre of nominees.
Ben Finch, who is in the second year of his three-year plumbing apprenticeship with Redrow Homes, came out on top and admitted he was a little shocked by the result.
“It’s more of a credit to Redrow and the structure of its apprenticeship scheme,” says Finch. “Although I’ve gone up and taken the award it’s something the whole company can be proud of.”
Charlotte Dorricott, who has become pivotal to the success of Liverpool-based Block Management & Property Specialists, finished in second place.
SAS Daniels’ legal apprentice Dominic McGovern rounded off the shortlist having quickly become a valuable member of the property team at the firm, which has three branches across the North West.
Regeneration Award Sponsored by Redrow North West
Housebuilder Countryside won the Regeneration Award for New Broughton Village in Salford.
The scheme, on the outskirts of Manchester, has seen 180 acres of previously run-down land completely transformed and played a key role in the £500m regeneration of Lower Broughton.
Accepting the award, Peter Vella, regional sales and marketing director at Countryside, says: “It has been a successful scheme and we’re really pleased with it.”
Capital & Centric was also in the running for its £4m regeneration of a vacant 1970s office building on Tithebarn Street in Liverpool city centre.
Rebranded as Tempest, the building is now fully let and includes a roof garden as well as free electric car charging for tenants.
New Pendleton from Together Housing was named runner-up, with Willowbrook Hospice also highlighted on this year’s shortlist.
Commercial Property Agent of the Year Sponsored by PCS Law
WINNER: Hitchcock Wright & Partners
Arguably the most sought-after commercial prize of the night went to Hitchcock Wright & Partners.
The panel of independent adjudicators was impressed with the Liverpool firm’s commitment to delivering outstanding service and going the extra mile for its clients.
Hitchcock Wright & Partners has been involved with a number of high-profile deals over the past 12 months including Commercial Estates Group‘s (CEG) acquisition of Exchange Station and a 20,000 sq ft lease to Home Bargains at the £150m ‘Project Jennifer’ scheme on Great Homer Street, both in Liverpool.
“We’re delighted to win it for the second year in a row,” says Matt Kerrigan, partner at Hitchcock Wright & Partners.
“It’s an honour to receive the award but equally we recognise that without the team involvement it wouldn’t have been possible,” adds Brian Ricketts, also a partner at the firm.
Worthington Owen, which has acted on several significant deals in Liverpool this year including the £7.2m sale of No.1 Tithebarn Street was named runner-up.
Judges’ Special Award Sponsored by Countryside
WINNER: Willowbrook Hospice
The final award of the evening was reserved for a development which has had a truly transformational effect on its local community.
The Willowbrook Hospice in Prescot has cared for 7,500 patients and receives over 1,110 patient referrals a year.
To meet demand, the organisation last year purchased a derelict building in the area.
Following an extensive redevelopment it was brought back to life and reborn as The Living Well – a multi-functional space with conference and treatment facilities, offices, a charity shop and a community café.
The Living Well promotes positive wellbeing and offers support for those facing the most difficult times in their lives, either as patients or carers.
“We’re delighted,” says Neil Wright, chief executive of the Willowbrook Hospice, who accepted the award. “To turn a derelict building back into community use – we brought a building which was dying back into living.
“It’s going to help support people in the future and we’re very grateful to the judges for being able to recognise the work of the hospice.”
The judging process
Winners across many of the categories were chosen via a wide-ranging judging process by a respected panel made up by esteemed figures from across the North West’s residential and commercial sectors including Lesley Martin-Wright, CEO of Knowsley Chamber; Eric Wright, retail specialist and arbitrator; Alastair Shepherd, director at Falconer Chester Hall; Elaine Cunningham, owner of Elaine Cunningham Design Studio; Fiona Woodward-Kelly, owner of Wood Kelly & Co Ltd and James Glendenning, CEO of Greater Merseyside Learning Providers’ Federation (GMLPF).
The winners of the Property Apprentice and Commercial Property Agent of the Year awards were decided by a panel of independent adjudicators, who assessed each entry on a variety of specific criteria and evidence-based factors.