EG’s most-read stories in 2017

EG’s round-up of the top industry news from the year, as selected by our readers. We take a second look at the most popular EG articles from each month of 2017, from the biggest partnerships and takeovers, to high-stakes courtroom battles.

January: Landlords’ new CVA shock

Landlords of 74 former Somerfield supermarkets faced insolvency six months after Co-operative Group transferred them to restructuring firm Hilco.

Current owner the Food Retailer Group launched “Project Houston”, putting 1.4m sq ft of space at risk.

One landlord said: “This is yet another example of agreements made in good faith with landlords being torn up, facilitated by a CVA process.”

Food Retailer Operations went into administration in February.

February: Taylor Wimpey to redevelop Winstanley Estate

Taylor Wimpey was appointed as the preferred bidder for the £1bn regeneration of the Winstanley and York Road estates in London’s Battersea.

The developer beat competition from Lend Lease, Balfour Beatty and First Base to build 2,000 homes over 32 acres of land.

Taylor Wimpey’s proposal included the reprovision of 530 social rented homes, 100 new homes for affordable rent, 100 new shared-ownership homes and 300 PRS homes.

March: World’s largest private equity backs Regal Homes

Global private equity firm KKR partnered with London residential developer Regal Homes.

The joint venture saw plans for KKR to finance acquisitions on schemes of between 100 and 500 homes in central London.

It entered the real estate scene relatively late, with its first fund of $1.5bn in 2013. This was most recently bolstered by a European real estate investment fund of $739m (£592m), announced 2016.

April: Holyoake v Candy: the case of the century (so far)

Property developers Mark Holyoake and Nick Candy entered into a violent dispute after Holyoake took a £12m loan from Nick Candy’s brother, Christian, at CPC Group.

Holyoake said he was bullied, intimidated and extorted for millions of pounds and claimed up to £100m in damages.

The Candys denied the accusations and said Holyoake was “dishonest” with an “Alice in Wonderland” approach to commercial life.

In this podcast, EG legal experts share highlights from the two-month trial.

May: Cluttons bought by RCapital in pre-pack administration

Turnaround firm RCapital bought and restructured Cluttons, the world’s oldest practising firm of chartered surveyors.

The deal saw Cluttons dispense of its £42.9m pension deficit, liabilities which it claimed were “unsupportable in the long term”.

It also marked the closure of London offices in Belgravia, Blackheath and Clapham, along with its global facilities management business and Nigeria operations.

June: Tory minority government: the fallout for real estate

The property industry reacted to the shock General Election result, with the Conservatives losing their majority and Gavin Barwell as housing minister.

Jefferies said a hung parliament would depress housing transactions in an already cautious market fearing Brexit, and industry experts told EG their predictions for the fallout.

July: Martin to become UK chief of BNP PRE following Strutts takeover

Strutt & Parker senior partner Andy Martin became the chief executive of BNP Paribas Real Estate following the takeover of the UK property firm.

Martin replaced John Slade, who later left BNP and went on to become a partner at Evan Randall Investors.

The deal doubled BNP PRE’s UK activity, picking up Strutt & Parker’s commercial and residential and agricultural business.

August: WeWork takes The Stage

Co-working firm WeWork agreed to lease The Stage, a 240,000 sq ft development in east London’s Shoreditch.

WeWork revealed that part of the £750m scheme from Cain Hoy Enterprises would also be considered for the European expansion of WeLive, the firm’s co-living brand currently running in New York and Washington.

September Treasury to restrict councils’ extra-jurisdictional investment

The first hints emerged of Treasury plans to clamp down on local council investment in commercial property outside of their jurisdictions with restrictions to be announced in the Budget.

These plans aimed to curb alternative income streams – buying offices, shopping centres and sheds – which some councils have used to offset cuts in central government funding.

October: Savills and CBRE high street gurus leave to set up own business

A flight of retail talent from Savills saw directors Dan Walker, Ben Tyack and Jonathan Kelley join forces with CBRE’s head of high street investment, Charlie Neil, to launch a new venture. The group is expected to specialise in high street retail and landlord services, though full details have not yet been announced.

November: Ten property takeaways from the Budget

Chancellor Philip Hammond downgraded the GDP forecast and announced investment and business rate reforms in housing and infrastructure.

These included plans to scrap capital gains tax exemptions for overseas investors on commercial property and stamp duty for first-time buyers on the first £300,000, alongside a $44bn housing investment, devolution and softer business rates.

December David Lloyd unveils first sites for Adrenaline World

David Lloyd announced the first sites for his £18m adventure park project, Adrenaline World, in Sandbach, Cheshire and Chesterfield’s Peak Resorts development near Sheffield.

The leisure tycoon said he expects the first park in Sandbach to open after seven months of construction. It will incorporate water activities on two lakes.

Lloyd is also seeking new sites for a further nine parks, with plans to open three every year between next year and 2021.