GCW takes the lead in purchase support

A growing number of clients are seeking GCW’s purchase support services. The agent’s town centre expertise is proving invaluable when appraising assets and determining how best to drive value from their acquisitions. Recent work on shopping centres in Leeds and Oxford underlines the value of GCW’s in-depth market knowledge.

As the market for town centre assets continues to be unstable, vendors are seeking more certainty from the purchasers they choose. Understanding the asset being purchased, the opportunities and issues that exist, has always been important to purchasers but is now essential.

GCW is increasingly being called upon by purchasers to act alongside their investment agent in providing an independent, objective analysis of the asset. Why does independence matter? Distance from the purchase as an event ensures impartiality and satisfies good corporate governance.

We regularly feed into or create the business plan for the asset which can be used to underwrite the purchase. Understanding occupier trading performance, their future strategy for the location and experience of the physical environment is essential. This process identifies opportunities for an occupier or sector to be rightsized and located appropriately within the asset, best serving the needs of the catchment. We seek to anticipate voids where trading experience is weak or uses that are no longer relevant to those who use the place, which can lead to a strategy for vacant possession being developed. Our experience is further drawn upon to anticipate the behaviour of other stakeholders, including local authorities and adjacent owners.

This steers the future positioning of the asset, whether this is a reimagining of tenant mix or development, inputting into the design process.

Exploiting our ‘boots on the ground’ methodology, GCW explores the asset physically, seeking opportunities for development, further site acquisition, improving customer experience, adjustments to public realm, wayfinding and future disposal of part(s). We marry the theoretical with the practical by overlaying with tenure information to established a realistic timeframe for implementing actions.

Cashflow modelling is key to refining business plans and justifying future expenditure. Rental values when considered alongside anticipated tenant behaviour can be adjusted to reflect changing leasing models, void periods (desired and enforced) and short-term occupational strategy.

Recent examples that have used all or parts of GCW’s purchase support offer include Redevco’s acquisition of Templars Square Shopping Centre in Oxford from NewRiver and Tri7’s purchase of The Core, Leeds.

In many instances, purchasers have used this to add gravitas to their bid. The success of an offer can be determined by the vendor’s confidence in a purchaser’s performance. Demonstrating independent, comprehensive due diligence, completed swiftly, can be successfully used by clients as a lever to increase purchaser credibility with a vendor.