ER-Insights: May 2024
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What’s on at ERI
MIRA South Site expansion and Warwick Acoustics letting

This February, we received planning permission for our major "South Site" expansion of MIRA Technology Park (MTP) in the Midlands, which will deliver 2.3 million sq ft of manufacturing and industrial facilities for what is already one of the world’s leading hubs for automotive R&D. MTP is home to more than 40 major global corporates and innovators in the automotive sector including Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover. 

As you may have read, we recently announced the signing of Warwick Acoustics, a UK audio technology company, to occupy 36,000 sq ft of high-quality office and technical space in a new 72,000 sq ft unit. This new facility will support Warwick Acoustics' continued expansion and scaling-up of production of its revolutionary electrostatic audio systems. 

We are leading the development and expansion of MTP as part of a joint venture with HORIBA MIRA, which is on course to provide a major boost to the Midlands economy. Read more about the expansion of MTP at CoStar, and Warwick Acoustics letting on PropertyEU.   
Market Insight
Freshfields to freshers - challenging assets in changing times

The biggest deal in the City of London in Q1 of this year, accounting for over 25% of total investment volume, was the acquisition of the former Freshfields HQ on Fleet Street, set to be converted to student housing. From Freshfields to freshers in less than 5 years, it is a great example of the growing need for a flexible, creative approach to assets across sectors as levels of obsolescence increase in both a physical and practical sense.

With a focus on asset management initiatives and utilising our cross sector and multi-disciplinary expertise, we are taking a strategic approach to meet evolving demand and futureproof investments amidst current market upheavals, regulatory changes and economic uncertainties. Active and holistic management strategies are crucial in navigating these challenges and maximising returns in the real estate sector.

Read more on our website by clicking here.
Five Questions For...
Jodie Whitelaw, Owner of Iris & June

This quarter we check in with Jodie Whitelaw, the owner of the Iris & June cafés and one of our tenants in our London portfolio.  

1. The retail and F&B sector in particular has faced major headwinds during and coming out of C-19, how are you feeling about the current environment?   

I am feeling optimistic after a very tough four years. People are finally emerging from the WFH hiatus which has had a huge impact on our business. It's as simple as seeing our regular customers returning to the office more than 2-3 days a week as well as a reduction in train/tube strikes. Staff shortages have eased as well with the rate of young people arriving in the UK on working holiday visas having jumped back close to pre covid levels.

2. You have two locations in London, in Holborn and in Victoria.  Is the offer the same across these two locations or do you take a different approach?

Both locations are very much set up to cater for the surrounding office workers: good coffee, and delicious food made from scratch on-site every day. Holborn is tiny and takeaway only, so it's very much grab-and-go. Whereas, Victoria has plenty of seating.  It's a popular spot for coffee catch-ups, a team breakfast or lunch meetings in a relaxed, informal setting. 

3. Landlords of office buildings know that providing amenities to their office tenants is a key part of a successful asset management strategy.  What are some of the best ways that landlords and F&B operators can work together to achieve this?

I think it works best when landlords come from a position where they acknowledge that small independents are both a source of rental income and also an enabler of rental income for other areas of the building.   From this position, you can come up with some good ideas in lots of different areas, from rent structures to marketing and comms.  Post covid, our landlords acknowledged that it would take some time for us to rebuild and we needed support as we waited for people to return to offices. We switched to a base rent and turnover model, which has really helped us get back on our feet in a sustainable way. 

4. What is one building that inspires you and why?

Architectural snobs would laugh, but I love the iconic Liberty department store. The Tudor-style extension makes it appear straight out of a fairy tale and inside, the creaky floorboards, staircases and fireplaces make shopping there a special and unique experience. 

5. Where is your favourite place in London and why?

Hampstead Heath. I have spent a lot of time running the trails in the Heath and Parliament Hill Lido is awesome for early morning swims with the kids during the summer.
About Town
London Event Highlights

Here are the ERI team's top picks of what's on in London in the world of art, design and enjoyment.

Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Independence, V&A South Kensington
until 22 September 2024
A major new exhibition at the V&A examines the architectural style of Tropical Modernism. The style grew out of the work of British architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry’s work in 1940s West Africa. 

Legion: Life in the Roman Army, British Museum  
until 23 June 2024
Ever wondered what it would be like to serve in the Roman Empire? An exhibition at the British Museum attempts to unpack the everyday life of legionaries in Britain. Based on tablets from Hadrian’s Wall, the exhibition is a deeply personal look at the lives of soldiers, their families and enslaved people. 

London Festival of Architecture
1-30 June 2024
London Festival of Architecture is a month-long celebration of architecture and city-making, taking place every June across London. With an amazing programme of events and activities taking place this year,  join in on the conversation around architecture and our city.