Search and acquisition of a new London campus resulting in the acquisition of 150 Clerkenwell Road London EC1
This project has been a sheer delight from start to finish. That is not to say that it was not without its issues, it had many, but when considering the size of project, the specification required and the difficulties associated with finding the “right property”, and for sheer job satisfaction this was a top scorer.
The project started on (insert date) when I had the great pleasure to meet Rev. Richie Salmi of Fordham University’s London campus based in Kensington. It was explained to me that the university required a new campus suitable for conducting its UK based courses which included a drama course requiring an area of high ceilings capable of accommodating “swiping swords”. The issues with identifying D1 (Education Use) accommodation in itself in London today of 20,000 sq. ft is challenging enough in itself, but to add to that the need for approx. 1,500 sq ft of high ceilinged and open plan space, ideally non VAT elected and centrally located provided for a near impossible task.
24 months later the building has been identified, terms agreed and is under refurbishment specifically for Fordham University at 150 Clerkenwell Road London EC1.
The essential elements of the tenancy are that Fordham acquire a 20 year lease at a market rent (now long since “historic”) subject to an extended rent free period in exchange for undertaking works on behalf of the landlord. We also negotiated that the building would not be registered for VAT and that VAT would not then be payable on the rent. The loss in VAT on the cost of works being a reasonable and satisfactory sacrifice for this major financial benefit.
Whilst the building was designated a B1 Use situation, we had identified it as a situation that would have a high chance of being accepted as a D1 Use by the local authority (Camden Council) due to it having been marketed for over 12 months prior to our attention to it. This proved correct and, whilst not an easy run, we did achieve the required Legal Use enabling the university to utilise the accommodation as a London Campus.
My joy and satisfaction in having delivered this result for the university is matched by my sadness that my time of work with the university and specially Rev. Richie is sadly almost over with regard to the search and acquisition task.