Service: Agency | Sector: Education | Contact: William Ray
Following the construction of a new campus, United Colleges Group appointed us to sell the freehold of a former college in Saltram Crescent, north west London. An attractive Victorian building with a total floor area of 55,000 sq ft, UCG sought maximum proceeds from the disposal; prior to sale, the property was listed as an asset of community value (ACV), further complicating the process.
We provided UCG with a pre-sale disposal report considering sale options and value, with our exposure to the wider education market making us best-placed to identify potential buyers from the sector. We also recognised interest from residential developers, but the alternative use carried high planning risk given ACV status, potentially giving conditions to the sale. Given these sensitivities, sale for continued educational use addressed a number of concerns.
The marketing process generated significant interest from a range of different purchasers, with the property sold for over £23 million in May 2019 to an independent school. Our advice maximised the sale proceeds, and successfully identified another educational operator, removing the planning risk associated with alternative use.
Gerald Eve is a trusted adviser to United Colleges Group. They have advised us on a range of strategic and valuation matters from the disposal this year of our former Queens Park Campus, which enabled us to invest the proceeds into our other campuses, to valuations to inform our merger in 2017, to valuations for financial reporting and loan security purposes. They have consistently met the tight deadlines we have presented to them, with a dynamic ‘can-do’ attitude, and the College have benefited from their excellent knowledge and understanding of the further education and wider education and development markets. They are approachable and professional and we hope to work with them further in the future when opportunities arise.
Amanda Thorneycroft, Chief Financial Officer – United Colleges Group