GCW Surveyor, George Cook
I joined GCW’s Owner Team in January advising a number of owners and stakeholders on assets across the UK. Here is a snapshot into the ever-changing world of a retail property agent, an insight into the people, the properties, the towns, the socials, and the industry we love.
My summer Monday
At GCW, we pride ourselves on being the town centre specialists. We get under the skin of every town we deal with. This involves regularly visiting and walking the streets of each location. Today was no exception.
I work on the leasing strategy for Windsor Yards; an open air retail scheme in the famous Royal Town.
At 08:45, I arrive in Windsor via train and grab a cappuccino from Black Sheep Coffee. I then proceed to walk the town from top to bottom, noting any new tenants, vacancies and To Let boards onto a traders plan. This is crucial information for us; we need to know what is changing in real time.
At 10:00, I head to Windsor Yards for our monthly strategy meeting. Here we discuss with our client any new interest we have generated, new acquisitive concepts emerging in the UK market, what is happening in the town, and any longer term strategic plans that we have for tenants within our scheme.
11:45, it’s time to hop on the train back to the office in Soho and respond to any calls missed that morning on my journey back.
When back in the office, there is no set-menu. Each day is varied. This particular Monday’s office time started off with drafting heads of Terms for a recent letting we had negotiated in a new shopping centre we have been appointed as leasing agents on; The Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford.
This is followed by an hour of responding to emails; comprising reporting new offers, responding to queries on properties and liaising with solicitors on behalf of our client. There are also general queries and invitations to industry events such as Thursday Evening Retail Agents Drinks at a local Soho pub.
I also take time to prepare to chair our next fortnightly team meeting. We all introducing a guest speaker or sharing market intelligence.
14:30, I head out of the office to meet an acquisitions agent for coffee at Grind, Soho. Networking is a crucial part of our role as agents, and meeting face to face will always trump any phone call or Zoom meeting. We discuss what we’re both working on, general industry news, and if any of their tenant requirements are suitable for properties I am working on. Should we not join the dots, we will discuss other opportunities within our respective firms and report back to the wider GCW network to capitalise on them.
15:30, I am back in the office and begin drafting details for a new high street instruction we have been appointed on.
The remainder of the office day consists of email admin, phone calls to agents, new entrants to the market, and more specific tenant targeting for the 6 shopping centres I am involved in the leasing strategy for.
Post covid, we are in the office daily, unless on town visits or external meetings. This breeds a lively, energetic culture. We operate a comprehensive database accessible to all, and often lean on each other for advice and information. It’s a very fluid and collaborative environment. Stupid questions are welcomed (at least they are the first time), mentoring and sharing of experiences is a key part of the culture at GCW and that underpins my professional learning.
18:00, we down tools and head to The George for a couple of beers. Once a month, GCW has full company drinks and social. Our monthly get-togethers are always well attended and enjoyed by all.