Archive for October, 2010

Demolition Sheffield

Friday, October 29th, 2010

There’s a tendency for some to guard our ‘Heritage’ in the mistaken belief that every old building should be preserved just because it’s old.

 Granted, ‘fashionable’ planning polices of the day have resulted in swathes of ill-conceived demolition.  The heart and the heritage have been torn from so many of our inner cities, to be replaced with faceless glass and tin-shed shopping centres.

 Will future generations bemoan their passing?  I think not.

 But dying industries have left industrial conurbations with acres of redundant industrial buildings, dinosaurs, of no viable use and of no architectural merit.  Preservation is not an option; they are ripe for redevelopment.

 One such is a site in Sheffield where we are project managing the redevelopment for a national developer.

 An old tool-making factory was to be demolished beside a busy main road and could have distracted drivers for weeks. 

 To avoid that, the facade was retained to hide the demolition going on behind.  Then, early, one wet Sunday morning, the explosive boys worked their magic and felled the front in one fell swoop.

 Check it out at Factory demolition

The Spice Lounge Gets it Right

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Shah had been involved with restaurants for years but he’d never set-up one from scratch. Nor did he know Derby well.

But Derby’s Friar Gate area, with its vibrant night life, was the ideal place for his dream - a top-notch Bangladeshi restaurant to compete with the best Derby had to offer.

Shah knew what made restaurants work – Understanding the expectations of his customers…and exceeding them!

But he knew nothing about property.

A friend suggested Shah should take professional advice and recommended Chris Mills at Barlows. That’s networking for you!

A former Cantonese resturant was identified as a likley candidate.

The place had ‘Potential’.  It needed a full re-fit; an investment of circa £100k.  Shah knew he could make it work; he had a vision, but he’d never looked above the ground floor.

Friar Gate, is a Conservation Area close to the city centre.  By its very nature the buildings are very old.  

A lease on ‘Full Repairing’ terms was on offer; a massive risk on an old dilapidated building like this one.

The roof was on it’s last legs and had leaky old rooflights; definitely not what you want above your newly refurbished restaurant.

Realising a potential tenant could be lost the Landlord re-roofed the building.  This removed the risk of re-roofing from a potential dilapidations claim.

Shah managed the re-fit himself.  It was a steep learning curve and, at times, rather fraught, but I usually knew ‘a man who can’ to come to Shah’s rescue.

Now, some eight months or so since opening, The Spice Lounge is a success.  It was voted Best Indian Restaurant in Derby and I value Shah not just  as a client but as a friend.

Shah’s pre-lease survey saved him the price of a new roof and the potential damage and disruption to his restaurant that could have ensued. It also plugged him into a network of reliable local trades and professions, many of whom are now pleased to be customers too.

http://www.spicelounge-friargate.co.uk/

Due Diligence in Business Buy-outs

Friday, October 15th, 2010

In the frenzy surrounding business buy-outs it’s easy to lose sight of the cost of taking-on the property from which the acquired business trades.

It is a massive step, to step into the boss’s shoes.  But make sure he doesn’t ‘fill his boots’ at your expense.

It is a business decision that requires your ‘Business head’ to be fully engaged.  Sentimentality must be allowed to fly out of the window.

Don’t be afraid to take independent advice from your own accountant and your own solicitor. You should also consider advice on the marketability of your offering and the potential for growth.   If a business stands still it will fall behind the rest; it’s got to move with the times.

As a business owner approaches retirement it’s all too easy to become complacent and sit in the ‘comfort zone’; the business can become stale.  There is no incentive to invest in the business and, as we know from experience, investment in the property usually takes a very back seat.

Fixtures and fittings become ‘tired’ and the the building falls in to disrepair.

When did you last walk around the back of your business premises?  Have you seen that leaking gutter and the weeds in the outlet?  When were the windows last painted?  That one looks rotten!  Why can’t I open this fire escape door?  Oops, it’s dropping to pieces.  Why is water running from that pipe and the brickwork below it perished?

The current owner has allowed all this ‘on his watch’ so why should you pick-up the cost of his years of neglect?

Dilapidation claims on rented property can run into many thousands of pounds.  Two or three times the annual rent is quite common.  And this is a cost that must not be ignored because it’s you who will be paying the bill.

And what does the lease say? Can the rent go up? When does the lease end? Can I renew it? Can I sub-let the spare room? Should the Landlord fix the roof?

Contact Chris Mills for property advice at chris@barlow-associates.co.uk

TRANSITION: Thinking the unthinkable

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Remember the petrol tanker drivers’ strike in 2000?  Panic buying, fuel rationing, general mayhem; fresh food shortages in the supermarkets.  

That sudden interruption in supply affected us, mainly as ‘motorists’, and for only a few days. 

But what happens when the oil runs out?

Think…is there a singe part of your life that wouldn’t be affected?

Stats show that world-wide oil production has past its peak; new finds are fewer and harder to exploit and, like it or not, our lifestyle, or that of our children, will be forced to change; there will be no choice!

Prices will rise as oil becomes scarce.  Producers will protect their resources.  Users will be held to ransom. Wars could break out.

It’s not ‘IF’ the oil runs out, it’s ‘WHEN’!

The ONLY alternative is to plan for NO OIL.

But who is going to take the lead?  It’s not even on governments’ agendas so why do we need to be concerned today?

‘Transition’ is about changing the mindset; the way we do things; the way we live.  It’s not about ‘Climate Change’ or ‘Saving the Planet’. It’s not about reducing your fuel bills or the ‘Green Agenda’.

‘Transition’ groups worldwide are taking up the cudgels; there are some serious players involved but the many fanatical, do-gooder, eco-warrior types could be a distaction for businesses trying to get to grips with the consequences.

The big challenge for businesses is: 

How do we trade and compete in the world as it is today while preparing for the world as it will be tomorrow?

Lease end? Don’t do nothing

Friday, October 8th, 2010

If you rent your business premises on a commercial lease you need to be ‘on the ball’ when you hit the final year.  Read the lease carefully and take professional advice; its a legal document and can be a mine-field

To do nothing can be  disasterous.

If you want to stay put you could end up ‘out on your ear’ or, if you want to leave, you could end up paying rent for another few years! It’s so important to get the legals sorted out. And in good time too!  Notices may need to be given by certain dates or other actions taken.

The practicalities can be just as important.  It can take months to find a new property, then further months to negotiate a new lease.

The cost of moving and ‘kitting-out’ new premises will cost more than you thought; and don’t forget the Dilapidations bill!

If you want to know more get in touch with Chris Mills at Barlow & Associates