TheLoom1

The Loom, London

The Loom is a Grade II listed former warehouse designed by Holland & Hannen, which was built in 1892. The building is multi-let and now provides 112,000 sq. ft. of office and storage space with 67 lettable units. Office suites range from between 1,000 and 5,500 sq. ft. over Lower Ground, Ground and five upper floors. The Loom is located in Whitechapel, and is opposite the Goodman Fields development to the West. The area has seen significant development and has become a sought after location.

The property was purchased by Helical Bar PLC in July 2013 and Ashdown Phillips were appointed immediately to manage. One member of staff was transferred to Ashdown Phillips under TUPE regulations. 

Ashdown Phillips Main Objectives

  • Review all leases and ensure that the occupation of all tenants are regularised.
  • Arrange new contracts for security, lifts, cleaning, M&E and refuse collection.
  • Review expenditure and produced a new budget for the forthcoming service charge year.

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How we achieved it

Review all leases and ensure that the occupation of all tenants is regularised

Due to the sheer level of documentation, the documents were split between 3 experienced surveyors to review. To ensure quality control each lease was checked by two surveyors. All details were uploaded on to our accounts database to allow us to allocate funds received and manage arrears efficiently from the outset. The Client was advised immediately of any unit where a tenant was occupying without the necessary documentation and if required Ashdown Phillips liaised directly with the tenant to agree new terms for a lease.    

Arrange new contracts for security, lifts, cleaning, M&E and refuse collection

We have strong relationships with several trusted contractors which enabled us to arrange for services to continue from day one. These service contracts were on a temporary basis whilst longer term contracts were negotiated or tendered.

Review expenditure and produce a new budget for the forthcoming service charge year

Expenditure was reviewed and based on the new service contracts recently agreed, and a review of various building survey reports, we were able to produce a meaningful budget in line with the Service Charge in Commercial Property RICS Code of Practice. We changed the tenant apportionments to a more reasonable method which meant tenants paid only for services they benefited from. Lastly, we removed some items of expenditure from the previous budget and added new items, again using The Code as guidance for best practice. 

Managing future developments

The client is investing circa £5m in the development of the building. This will involve the switching of the reception from one side of the building to the other, a new café, new pop up unit, lifts, showers and a refurbishment of the common parts. Ashdown Phillips are an integral part of the project advisory team, advising on areas that will affect tenants and ensuring that the quiet enjoyment of the tenants is not affected whilst these works are undertaken. Communication with the tenants is via the Ashdown Phillips on site Facilities Manager who has an excellent relationship with the occupiers. In addition we have advised on matters which will affect the future management of the building including fire strategy and escape routes, location of CCTV, reception desk and management office specification, and signage.

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Ashdown Phillips have recently completed a project to bring superfast broadband into the building. The infrastructure is now in place allowing any unit to connect to this service and occupiers are now enjoying speeds of up to 100MB uncontested. The fibre infrastructure was installed at nil cost to the landlord, and tenants signing up to the service have no install costs. We have been able to manage this by making use of the Government’s Voucher Connection Scheme, where SME’s are entitled to a grant of £3,000 toward installation costs. 

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Next steps

We will continue to work closely with our contractors to ensure a high level of service delivery and value for money. Tenant liaison over the coming months will be extremely important due to the landlord works, in particular the switching of the new reception which will result in a new address for the building. We are trialling a new refuse collection service which will encourage recycling and should reduce costs. We will continue to have a proactive approach to the management of the building liaising closely with our contractors to ensure any new technologies or initiatives are considered.