Tag Archives: property

Introducing Ibanista Savvy Currency Solutions For The French Property Market

Ibanista, a specialist Anglo-French content-creation-led currency broker, announces its official launch. The business offers competitive and secure international payments for private clients and ex-pats navigating the complexities of the French property market.

Co-founded by entrepreneurs Benjamin Small and Maxime Guibert, Ibanista is headquartered in London UK. The business emerged from the fusion of Ben’s and Maxime’s networks in France – transforming the pair’s former rivalry into a strategic partnership. Recognising the overlap in their key clientele, and a shared ethos towards exceptional customer service, they opted to unite capabilities, addressing the inefficiencies and user-hostile experiences that are all too common among leading brokerage firms.

Benjamin distinguishes himself in catering to the needs of the English-speaking expats in France, while Maxime’s tenure at a corporate brokerage allows him to extend sophisticated currency management solutions, traditionally the preserve of professionals, to private high-net-worth individuals. This joint approach has driven the business to secure a foothold within the luxury client segment, positioning Ibanista as a pioneer in French wealth management tools for non-resident clients – a service that remains a rarity in a market flooded with currency brokers.

Commenting on the launch; Benjamin Small, Co-Founder says “Ibanista was a long time coming for me, addressing the hugely ignored needs of the expatriate community. Despite the challenges of entrepreneurship – the joy of assisting remarkable individuals on their unique adventures has made the journey worthwhile. Redefining financial services for expatriates is an intricate and sizeable mission. We are committed to providing seamless and secure solutions tailored to meet the distinct needs of expats globally.”

Maxime Guibert, Co-Founder adds “The flexibility provided by Ibanista enables us to handpick partners and tailor our services specifically for non-resident clients. This is a significant shift from the status quo model where clients have to conform to pre-existing industry offerings. This strategic change is instrumental in drawing in high-profile individuals, including U.S. television celebrities and leading corporate executives.”

The business collaborates with fintech firms located in the UK and France, all of which are regulated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Ibanista ensures its clients have access to competitive wholesale exchange rates while also providing a safeguard against fluctuations in currency.

In addition, Ibanista offers comprehensive care packages that streamline the relocation process, simplifying tasks such as bank account openings, utility service setups, and securing telecommunications contracts.

Homes by Esh seeks to grow supply chain with Meet the Developer event

Subcontractors are invited to meet the Homes by Esh team and learn about future work opportunities.

North of England housebuilder, Homes by Esh, is hosting a Meet the Developer event in Darlington to give local subcontractors the opportunity to join its supply chain.

The event will be held at Blackwell Grange Hotel on 31 January and subcontractors can attend any time from 15:30 until final registrations at 18:00.

Homes by Esh’s commercial, construction, customer care, design and technical teams will be on hand to ‘meet and greet’ attendees and discuss future work opportunities linked with upcoming developments.

Malcolm Stewart, construction director at Homes by Esh said: “We are passionate about investing in a local supply chain and are keen to build long-term relationships that all parties can rely on to ensure mutual success. We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline and local subcontractors are a vital part of ensuring we can deliver for our customers.”

Subcontractors from the following traders are encouraged to attend; roads and sewers, groundworks, bricklaying, roofing, window and door installation, scaffolding, joinery, decorating, plumbing, ceramic tiling, drylining, electrical, appliance suppliers, garage door installation, mastic, cleaning, landscaping, fencing and kitchen and wardrobe installation.

Homes by Esh is a private housebuilder and part of Esh Group, a privately-owned construction, development and property services group. The firm prides itself on customer service and its range of quality homes that incorporate modern innovations in housing technology and design.

It is free to attend, but spaces are limited so a reservation should be made through the Eventbrite booking system. Book your place now: https://lnkd.in/eMq4QrSX

Experts warn many businesses may be ‘painting over the cracks’ on structural property issues

Having experienced one of the hottest summers on record in 2022, followed by heavy rainfall and storms as we approach the middle of winter, properties of all sizes are at risk of subsidence and long term structural damage from ground movement. For businesses in particular, the effects of this can be significant operational downtime, hefty repair costs, and worst case; demolition or relocation of business premises due to unsafe structural conditions.

Mainmark – the ground strengthening and subsidence specialists – are warning that it is time to stop painting over and hiding structural cracks. Mainmark is advising facilities managers, commercial tenants, and all non-domestic property owners to take note of new cracks and monitor the size of older ones to know when the damage is serious and action is needed – rather than the default of painting over or hiding unsightly cracks on business premises.

Along with this advice comes a new downloadable crack gauge tool for businesses or FMs to be able to monitor and record crack sizes and changes themselves to recognise bigger issues before they arise: https://mainmark.co.uk/crack-gauge/

Tom Kavanagh, general manager at Mainmark says: “In September, the Met Office reported that 2022 was so far the driest year on record since 1976. When there is a heatwave or warm weather, the soil and ground beneath a building excessively dries out. Depending on your soil type – which varies greatly depending on where your business is based in the UK – its ability to retain water can lead to subsidence, where the ground shrinks and pulls the property down slightly. Cracks are one of the first and most obvious indicators of movement.

“Given the significantly warm summer we have just experienced, we are encouraging facilities managers and owners of commercial buildings to record visible cracks, new and old, regularly. We have introduced our free crack gauge for an easy and guided way to monitor cracks around the premises, instead of simply hiding or covering over these because they might be unsightly for employees or customers.

“We are already beginning to see the structural impact on buildings from this summer’s weather with a significant increase in enquiries across the UK for foundation repair, raising, re-levelling and re-support on both domestic and business properties. It can be tempting to avoid the issue and default to the common approach of painting over the cracks, but this only masks the problem aesthetically and ignores the bigger issue at play; subsidence.

“Subsidence not only devalues the property for land owners and businesses, but it can also be costly and difficult to rectify at later stages with traditional methods like underpinning. It also compromises the structural safety for tenants too, so even if you are renting the space for commercial reasons, it is important to alert your landlord or local authority. It can also make a property harder to sell in the future, and increase the cost of insurance premiums significantly, if left to worsen.

“However, not every wall crack is serious or indicates an issue; many UK buildings will have these. Particularly new builds as buildings “settle”. But all cracks should be monitored over time as they are the biggest warning sign of severe foundation damage, along with jammed doors or windows, or sinking floors.”

Mainmark’s technical sales engineer David Hedley shares three signs that indicate building cracks are serious:

1. Large cracks that start at windows, doorways or corners of buildings
Cracks that indicate a significant issue tend to form in these areas first. They may not be as obvious as ones in the middle of the ceiling or in a very noticeable spot, so checking routinely for cracks in these areas is essential. It’s less spotted by businesses or employees so cleaners or facilities managers could be briefed to check.

2. Cracks are wider than about 5mm (or half a centimetre)
The size of the crack is important, as well as how quickly it forms. A 1mm crack that has been the same for three years is not a big worry, but one that is 0.5cm and growing is a red flag for owners of commercial premises, as the building will require further investigation and action when they are of this significant size.

3. Cracks that are jagged, horizontal or vertical, zig-zagged, stepped in brickwork, or follow mortar lines
With most properties being plastered internally or wallpapered, these cracks can sometimes be a bit hidden. And in commercial settings or an office space, may be in an unused area and go unnoticed. As soon as a jagged or zig-zag crack is visible, consult professional advice or alert a landlord as soon as possible.

City & Country appoints new Development Director

When Ben Mackett joined developer and heritage specialist City & Country after he graduated in 2010, he worked directly with David Sargeant, the company’s Development Director at the time and one of the owners of the business.

Now, after working on the other side of the Atlantic, Mackett is returning to take over his friend’s old role – re-joining the company as Development Director and looking forward to inspiring and equipping the next generation of young graduates.

After graduating from Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford, Mackett joined City & Country as one of its first graduate entrants, and was given the chance to work in various departments across the business learning the ropes, before settling into a role helping David Sargeant with projects across the south east of England. “It was a great learning curve,” he recalls.

Four years later he moved to live in London and spent four years working for a project management consultancy called Tower 8, broadening his experience, including working on the Lanesborough Hotel, The Hoxton Hotel and The Broadway apartment complex.

After experiencing the rush of working in central London, Mackett wanted to extend his horizons further still. “I really wanted to work abroad, so I started applying for jobs overseas at other project management consultant firms.”
This led to four years working in Los Angeles on a range of projects from retail to office to residential (both new build and refurbishment). “Construction in America is very different, even the language is different,” he says. “I already knew how to build and manage projects, but the processes and contracts were not the same so this definitely took some getting used to. I was also pushed out of my comfort zone as I was managing my own team for the first time – however, I soon became comfortable and now really enjoy this aspect.”

“I had been planning to stay in Los Angeles when I was offered the role at City & Country – going full circle to have the position of development director. I couldn’t turn it down, I wanted to jump in and take the opportunity with a fresh perspective from my diverse experience over the intervening years.”

Mackett’s new role as Development Director involves being active in many areas of the business, including managing projects and project teams at sites predominantly in London and Bristol keeping time, cost, quality and risk under control.

“I have kept in contact with David Sargeant throughout my career and we have stayed on friendly terms, so it’s really exciting to be rejoining the company at a senior level and taking on his old job. The company has changed a lot since I worked there as a graduate, particularly with the growth of the new build side of the business which I’ve had great experience in over the last few years; I’m also particularly passionate about the renovations side of the business – I’m really looking forward to working on such a diverse portfolio.” says Mackett.

“I’m especially excited about working on The 1840 – it’s a big project transforming a great building,” he says. The 1840, near Wandsworth Common in South West London, is a major restoration project sensitively converting a redundant Grade II Listed hospital building into apartments. “It’s fantastic to see this old NHS building that was run down and in disrepair having a new lease of life – it will be an amazing place to live!”

Mackett continued, “The key goals I hope to achieve in this role are mainly around creating high-performing teams, so people feel challenged when they come to work but have fun at the same time. I don’t want a top-down approach, but a working environment where everyone has ownership of their own role and the opportunity to excel.”

He loves the role of Development Director as it involves so many different aspects of the business. “I will be involved in design, planning, cost and customer care – the job is constantly changing so I will never get bored as I’m not doing the same thing every day. I’m looking forward to being constantly challenged!”

David Sargeant, Director at City & Country, added: “We are delighted to have Ben Mackett on board and are pleased that after exploring the world he has decided to return to his roots for the next stage of his career, back to where it all began.”

Style-Driven Penthouses & Third Floor Apartments in Cornwall’s Newest Coastal Haven Ready For Occupation in 2023

2021 saw ultra-luxe Cornish property group, Stephens + Stephens, showcase plans for a new landmark building in one of Cornwall’s most desirable coastal locations, combining stunning apartments above retail space for budding local entrepreneurs. Following 88% of the initial wave of 32 apartments being reserved, the highly sought-after executive penthouses and prime third floor apartments are now open to be reserved.

The fifth luxury development in Newquay in four years from the leading Cornish boutique architectural and design practice, One Pentire – designed by award-winning HLM architects – is projected to be ready for occupation by summer 2023. Sitting proudly at the ‘gateway’ to the Pentire Headland, the release of the third floor and penthouse apartments gives buyers and investors the opportunity to own their own slice of this popular coastal haven.

Stephens + Stephens’ celebrated new-wave style shine through One Pentire, with luxury, style-driven longevity, and the famous Cornish Life + Style forever front of mind. Coupled with being just a stone’s throw away from both the iconic surfing beach Fistral and The Gannel Estuary, and with the enigmatic edge of Pentire Point at the opposite– it’s no surprise properties in this jaw-dropping location are in immediate demand.
Helen Stephens, Creative Director of Stephens + Stephens, comments: “When crafting One Pentire, we wanted to create a concept that would both stand out and blend in – be the perfect union between luxury living and the natural surroundings. Taking these contradictions and creating the fine balance between the two worlds was a challenge, but we feel through this collection of apartments we have achieved perfect harmony.

“Newquay is undeniably located in one of Cornwall’s most sought-after spots – last year, Rightmove named it the fastest moving market in the UK. Through One Pentire, we’re creating opportunities for even more people to enjoy this wonderous locations, as well as creating much-needed, high-end space for locals to set up shop. From enhancing tourism to creating local jobs, we feel One Pentire reflects the best elements this corner of Cornwall has to offer and will be a genuine asset to the community.”

The One Pentire Third Floor apartments will start from £390,000. The nine exclusive Penthouse Apartments will start from £450,000.

The boutique development hosts nine outstanding penthouses, and 65 exclusive studio, one, two and three bed apartments across six floors in total (Lower Ground, Ground, First, Second, Third and Penthouse), as well as expansive underground parking for all apartments with lift access to each floor.

Throughout the third-floor apartments, touches of elevated luxury are clear. The interior design, from sister design agency Absolute, seamlessly brings the outside in with neutral hues and earthy undertones all through the six one-bedroomed, five two-bedroomed and three three-bedroomed apartments. Stunning contemporary Italian kitchens provide a touch of glamourous practicality, and black bathroom fittings add depth. The icing on the cake are the striking sea views.

Occupying the top floor, residents can find five beautiful one-bedroomed and four two-bedroomed exclusive penthouses, all with incredible sea views from private balconies, giving the ultimate coastal experience and perfect for watching the magnificent Atlantic Ocean sunsets. Step inside, and timeless interiors featuring neutral and green hues create synergy with the natural surroundings, evocative of Californian beach houses with woody accents and light, bright and airy aesthetics. The penthouses are finished to the highest spec for total relaxation and the ultimate Cornish Life + Style.

One Pentire’s walls will be crafted out of Cornish Slate and gabion baskets filled with Natural Stone. The exteriors are all thoughtfully designed to be responsive and sensitive to the surrounding coastal setting, climate, and topography. Windows have been manufactured to have thermally efficient solar reducing glass providing low energy ratings.

External landscaping will ensure maximal indoor/outdoor living benefits with a stunningly landscaped communal garden space for residents’ and visitors’ ultimate alfresco enjoyment.

As part of the project, Stephens + Stephens is creating valuable space for local entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive, including space for a wine bar and café-deli on the ground floor.

One Pentire is situated in The Fistral Bay area which is conveniently close to some of Cornwall’s iconic landmarks, amenities and coastal landscapes that help define the seven-bay destination of Newquay. The area is designed on a grand scale with expanses of open coastal land, landmark hotels, internationally renowned beaches, an incredible golf links course and large residential villas all creating a year-round saltwater buzz.

Pentire forms a key area in the distinctive interplay between the town’s-built environment and its spectacular natural setting. Add to this the fact that Cornwall is no longer a summer-online destination, but one that welcomes visitors year-round, it’s easy to see why properties are in immediate demand, making Number One Pentire a lucrative option for investors and a perfect lifestyle choice for relocators.

For those looking to invest in Cornwall, this autumn Stephens + Stephens announced a guaranteed fixed 10% gross yield return to discerning investors over a five-year period who use the business’ holiday letting arm, Sunrise + Sunset. In addition to the guaranteed return, investors will benefit from the following: properties can be used for the investor’s own personal holidays as well, meaning a Stephens + Stephens investment property can also be used to create memories as well as income; properties have natural capital appreciation – with the average property price in Cornwall increasing average price increasing by 17% for the 12-month period to August 2021, compared with 12% across the UK .

More than just a luxury property builder, Stephens + Stephens continues to go the extra mile, and a full turnkey service can be available for all investors.

• Boutique Concierge Service: Paul Stephens, not being able to find the personalised service that he felt potential buyers required from local luxury estate agents, invested in creating a new concierge service for buyers. Services cover everything from ensuring all paperwork needs are whisked through with minimum fuss, and are there with you whenever you need them.

• Interior Design: Helen Stephens founded design agency, Absolute, in 1991 and has worked with brands and customers ever since. Absolute will ensure every detail in a luxury holiday let is complete, from furniture to fabrics and fittings. It is a true luxury interior design service that creates unique spaces. Research shows prospective tenants view an unfurnished property as a capital cost they want to avoid, meaning most tenants will want and need a fully furnished space. A beautifully styled property will give it the edge it needs to stand out in a busy market .
• Sunrise + Sunset: Everything which is so distinctly Stephens + Stephens applies to Sunrise + Sunset, who’s aim is to look after some of Cornwall’s finest holiday properties. The team pride themselves in going the extra mile – whether that is ensuring the finest treats are left for the family dog, to luxury shampoos in the bathrooms for guests who expect and deserve only the finest holiday experience.

4 steps that businesses and commercial property owners need to make ahead of the worsening winter weather

With the weather taking a stormy turn in the coming days, and colder forecasts in December, there are important seasonal property checks that business owners, facilities managers and commercial landlords should be making to avoid danger to employees and serious, costly damage to their properties.

Roofing and solar tile experts Marley, are warning business owners to make these necessary safety precautions ahead of the worsening and upcoming winter weather.

Phil Wallis, technical manager at Marley says: “Every year roofing issues cause damage to commercial properties and business premises. Autumn and winter’s concoction of colder temperatures, stormy winds, and heavy rain make for a testing time for roofs. So December is the opportune time to take action before the temperatures significantly drop, and schedule an annual property inspection.

“Many business owners only think about their roofs when there is an issue and they either need to repair or replace them. Unfortunately leaving a problem until it is noticed or severe can be extremely costly for businesses. For a company that operates with technical equipment, a roof leak could devastate computers and tools, and for businesses that can only operate from their premises, it is essential they are safe and open all year round to avoid loss of income or operational impact.”

“As businesses prepare for 2023 and plan budgets, it’s important to factor building maintenance into this too. Routine checks and simple seasonal precautions can help business owners to spot early signs of damage and prevent falling tiles or costly roofing repairs. We are encouraging companies across the UK to take a four-step roofing health check in November to help minimise bigger roofing issues, damage, or worse, injuries.”

Phil’s four winter roof maintenance steps:

1. Clear roofing obstructions like leaves, debris and moss

The key here before wetter winter weather is to ensure leaves and debris are removed from valleys and gutters, and that moss and lichens are removed as they can affect the flow of rainwater. Moss often grows on roofs and structures that don’t receive much sunlight, including those that are north-facing or under trees. The growths typically occur on the tile surface and between roof tiles, and the big issue with this is that it can cause moisture retention and tiles to lift. Frequently moss and algae can be removed by professionals by brushing with a handheld tool or alternatively by applying a moss removing product. Many cleaning firms default to high pressure jet washers for this task, but it’s best to avoid these as they can actually damage the tiles or reduce their overall service life, particularly if repeated often.

2. Check the roof space to identify leaks or cracks in tiles

Many firms are unlikely to go into office attics or even utilise this space, so ensuring this area is checked by an external team or facilities manager before winter is ideal. Leaks would be obvious in the home, but with staff not in the larger office space all the time, it can go undetected. Similarly, if you wait till the point a tile falls off, then you risk injuries to an employee, customer or vehicle.

When a clay or concrete roof tile becomes loose, damaged, or falls off, it makes the underlying roof structure vulnerable to weather damage and leaks. This can often be identified inside the property from the roof space, particularly on older structures. Checking roofs internally can reveal water ingress or evidence of damaged/missing tiles and various other tell tale signs, but this alone will not suffice. Internal inspection should always be accompanied by an external inspection, carried out by trained operatives using suitable roof access equipment.

3. Health-check solar tiles or panels

Demand from non-domestic buildings is definitely growing for solar tile solutions – particularly in the current energy crisis situation – and we’re installing more solar tiles than ever before on commercial and office spaces. During installation of new solar tiles, it is a good time to get a professional to thoroughly check your building’s roof. At this time of year, solar installations should be checked to ensure panels are clear of debris and foreign matter which can affect performance and check there are no signs of visible damage or degradation. Consider updating very old or outdated solar solutions to ensure full efficiency and property safety.

4. Repair damages before the weather worsens

If you or a facilities manager notices any problems during the winter roof check on your business property, take steps to address the issue as soon as possible. If left, it will only worsen as the icy, cold and windy weather approaches. In most cases, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional roofing expert, as they will have the tools and knowledge to carry out the work safely and to a high standard, and ensure your premises’ roof will weather the stormy season.

Choosing a recommended roofing installer and professional is key to maintain long-term roof health and avoid seasonal issues. To locate an installer, Marley has a search tool, so landlords and business property owners can seek professional advice before winter officially sets in.

To learn more, visit https://www.marley.co.uk/installers

Roann Limited secures South Yorkshire development contract with Barratt Homes

Wakefield-based granite and quartz worktop supplier, Roann Limited, has been selected as the exclusive kitchen worktop supplier for the David Wilson Homes, Penning Ridge housing development in South Yorkshire.

The national housebuilder, David Wilson Homes, is part of the Barratt Developments PLC Group and selected Roann Limited to supply 400 houses with the Consentino Silestone range as part of a worktop upgrade option for house buyers. 

Surrounded by stunning countryside, the Penning Ridge housing development will feature both three and four-bedroom luxury homes and is located in a highly-sought after location in the heart of South Yorkshire, in Penistonne.

Residents will be able to benefit from a great range of local amenities and easily access major towns and cities with the M1, located just three miles away. 

Roann Limited has previously worked alongside David Wilson Homes but this project marks the first within the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes Sheffield region. 

Speaking about the project, Scott Wharton, the Sales Director at Roann Limited said: “As a Yorkshire based business, we are excited to be working on a Yorkshire-based project. Penning Ridge is located near the beautiful Penistone countryside and we are delighted that Roann Limited was selected for this project. Residents will be able to upgrade and select from a range of quality Consentino Silestone worktop colours and styles to suit their new kitchen. We have over 30 years of experience in supplying quartz worktops and we thoroughly enjoy transforming kitchen spaces by supplying a selection of kitchen worktops and splashbacks.” 

Horgan Homes launches next phase of luxury development

An award-winning housebuilder has launched its latest bespoke development of luxury million-pound homes in Worcestershire with the unveiling of a new show home.

Horgan Homes has added four single storey contemporary properties in the second phase of its Manor Gardens development near the sought-after village of Belbroughton.

The homes in the exclusive gated community, that will be marketed in excess of £1.6m, merge Horgan Homes’ signature style with contemporary reimagining of the traditional bungalow.

They offer in excess of 200m2 of stylishly designed living space and key features include an impressive living kitchen diner with bifold doors and feature apex windows, a 360-degree fire, an expansive master suite with a fully fitted dressing room and bathroom and two additional en suite bedrooms.

The properties feature top of the range brands including McCarron and Co, Siemens, Porcelanosa and Villeroy and Bosch. The homes have also been designed with sustainability in mind and include photo voltaic panels, underfloor heating and electric car chargers as standard.

For the project, Horgan Homes teamed up once again with Birmingham based designers Harris Byrne for the interiors of its show home, The Wentworth, and the selling agent will be The Lee Shaw Partnership. The architect was Hagley based Bundred and Goode.

Horgan Homes director Sophie Horgan said her aim had been to offer something unique in the luxury new home market.

“It’s widely recognised that there’s a nationwide shortage of single storey properties in the UK but very little exists in the £1m+ price bracket for discerning homeowners who want a one-level home that also brings exemplary style and contemporary design together in the same package.

“These may be bungalows but are very far removed from the traditional image of a single storey house. Because of that we’re expecting them to appeal to a variety of different buyers including families.”

She added: “Our reputation as a housebuilder has been developed through our attention to detail in the construction, design and interior style and these homes are no different. We’ve already had massive interest in these properties and look forward to securing buyers for them soon.”

Phase one of Manor Gardens scooped a What House? award for Best Luxury House and two International Property Awards.

Horgan Homes will also soon embark on another scheme in Belbroughton after securing planning for three luxury three-bedroom dormer bungalows in Hartle Lane.

Taylors Solicitors advises as Keenans expands with deal for Letting Locations

A north west estate and letting agent has expanded with a swoop for a Preston-based business.

Keenans Group has acquired Letting Locations for an undisclosed sum.

Letting Locations, which trades as Guildhall Residential Lettings, operates from Blackpool Road in Ashton-on-Ribble and has 350 properties under management.

Its managing director Robert Shields is being retained by Keenans on a consultancy basis following the deal.

Keenans is an independent, family-owned group which until now has focused on Greater Manchester and East Lancashire, with 10 branches covering 115 postcodes. It deals with over 2,500 sales and 400 lettings per year and employs nearly 100 staff.

Matthew Catterall, a corporate partner at north west law firm Taylors Solicitors, advised Keenans on the acquisition. Andrew Tabernacle of Bishops Chartered Accountants in Blackburn and Blackpool provided accounting and tax advice.

Matthew said: “We are extremely pleased to have provided legal advice to Keenans and help ensure its successful acquisition of Letting Locations. This transaction will enable Keenans to continue its impressive growth and extend its reach into West Lancashire.”

Paul Keenan, managing director of Keenans, said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Letting Locations as part of our geographical expansion in the north west.

“The business is a great fit with our current branch network and it expands our lettings management portfolio.

“The staff have tremendous experience and are passionate about the lettings industry. Their commitment to excellence for landlords and tenants alike aligns perfectly with our ethos, and we extend a warm welcome to them as part of the group.”

He added: “The advice from Matthew and Andrew throughout the process has been invaluable, and we look forward to working with them on future acquisitions as we continue towards our growth target.”

Downing chooses First Street interior designers

Downing has appointed KKA to lead the interiors team on its £400m mixed-use scheme at First Street, with work well underway at the transformational site.
After a competitive selection process that saw five different architecture and interior design firms go head-to-head, KKA’s interiors team (KKAI) has been selected after the proposed concepts aligned with the long-term vision of the mixed-use scheme, whilst paying homage to the site’s rich heritage.
KKA will be responsible for the interior design of 2,224 co-living bedrooms and amenity space across three new towers rising to 45 storeys, as well as working in collaboration with architects SimpsonHaugh and landscape consultant Optimised Environments (OPEN) to deliver community-centric public realm for the whole neighbourhood.
The scheme provides a hectare of new landscaped public park and landscaped gardens, over half of which is accessible to the general public. Including the addition 140 new trees, and commercial units that open directly onto it, this greenspace will boost biodiversity, improve air quality and improve the wellbeing of both residents and the wider community of First Street and neighbouring areas.
Andy Thomas, Operations Director at Downing, said: “First Street is a really important project for everyone at Downing, but also for everyone in Manchester. We are delighted to be regenerating such an important plot of land in the heart of Manchester’s city centre.
“Our ambitions for the scheme is to create a community-centric neighbourhood for residents to thrive. We believe that having great outdoor space will be at the heart of this, not only for aesthetic purposes but becoming a haven for residents to soak up the outdoors and to meet and socialise with friends and family.”
The new development will create an urban residential village in the heart of Manchester. It will offer prime city centre living in an affordable, social environment.
The new development will include more than 2,224 bedrooms split across a mix of accommodation types and price-points, ranging from private studios to five-bedroom apartments, as well as conventional one and two-bedroom apartments.
A vast indoor private amenity offer will be provided to supplement the living accommodation, as well as 17,000 sf of commercial leisure, F&B and retail space.
Nicola Ball, Associate Interior Designer at KKA, said: “The whole team is tremendously pleased to have been appointed to this important, transformational scheme in the heart of Manchester, which will be our largest mixed-use scheme to date.
 “The interiors team at KKA are excited at the prospect of pushing the boundaries of this project to deliver a first-class, inspiring development for the end user. Sitting on the site of the historic gasworks, First Street comes with a tremendous amount of heritage and we plan to pay homage to this throughout our designs.”