Last week, the great and the good of the commercial property world came together for the first in-person awards since 2019.
This year’s event also saw industry heavyweights Elliott Bernerd, Mark Dixon and Melanie Leech inducted into the Property Week Hall of Fame.
See the full rundown of all the winners below:
Winner: Gerald Eve Operational Real Estate
Gerald Eve’s Operational Real Estate team had a record year, supporting clients through challenging circumstances across the hotels, education, healthcare, build-to-rent and student accommodation sectors. It settled assessments, saving clients more than £90m in business rates, as well as acting on sale-and-leaseback, ground rent, forward-funding and occupational transactions worth over £500m.
Highly commended: Knight Frank
Knight Frank continued to grow its alternatives offer, transacting and advising on more than £27bn in the past year, while providing exceptional support to clients and the NHS during the pandemic.
Sponsored by Wildstone
Best Covid Response
On 25 March 2020, Cadogan announced 100% rent relief for all restaurants, cafés and bars and smaller retail and leisure businesses. It offered a switch from quarterly to monthly rents for all retailers and other small businesses, tailored financial packages for struggling occupiers, enhanced security measures to protect business premises and car parking spaces and accommodation for the NHS. It also partnered with the Kensington + Chelsea Foundation, raising funds and providing weekly packages for the borough’s most vulnerable and isolated.
Highly commended: Angle Property and Fiera Real Estate
When the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, Angle Property and Fiera Real Estate offered Headley Court to the NHS on an initial free-of-charge basis.
Sponsored by JLL
Climate Crisis Initiative
Winner: Bruntwood Works
Bruntwood Works has developed science-based carbon targets to help it become a net zero company by 2030. Through its sustainability initiatives so far, it has been able to reduce its carbon footprint by 21% against a 2017-18 baseline. It has added solar panels to roofs across Greater Manchester and Cheshire to create renewable energy and plans to expand this programme and enhance its storage capability through the use of onsite batteries. It has also installed electric vehicle charging points across its portfolio and will continue to increase these in line with demand. Bruntwood Works is planning to commence work on its first sustainable workspace ,The Ev0 Building, which will be net zero for both embodied and operational carbon.
Highly commended: Fabrix
Fabrix’s ‘Roots in The Sky’ aims to sets a new benchmark for office development by actively engaging with its local surroundings and helping to shape a sustainable and economically productive neighbourhood. It will deliver a 1.4-acre urban forest rooftop and aims to have BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, WELL ‘Platinum’ and WiredScore ‘Platinum’ accreditations. The Greater London Authority called it an exemplary scheme that demonstrates what is possible when urban greening is truly considered as a fundamental aspect of site and building design.
Sponsored by Workman
Winner: Blackstone for the acquisition of iQ Student Accommodation
Blackstone acquired PBSA provider iQ Student Accommodation in May 2020 for £4.7bn. At the time, it was the largest-ever private real estate transaction in the UK. The timing of the transaction was particularly significant given universities closed their campuses and transitioned to online teaching in light of Covid-19, amid uncertainty over reopening and restrictions on incoming international students for the 2020-21 academic year. In January 2021, iQ provided a six-week rent-free period for those unable to return to their term-time accommodation and offered flexible start dates for students who were yet to arrive.
Highly commended: Landsec and Invesco Real Estate for Gravity – Southside
The letting to Gravity at Southside Shopping Centre in Wandsworth was the largest leisure letting in 2020 by square footage, rent and occupational costs, totalling more than 80,000 sq ft. The deal was negotiated, agreed and documented during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by Shoosmiths
Winner: Great Portland Estates
Great Portland Estates scooped the top prize for completing big schemes including Hanover, a 221,300 sq ft development in the West End, incorporating a Crossrail station and comprising 167,200 sq ft of offices, 41,900 sq ft of retail and restaurant space and 12,200 sq ft of residential, and Hickman E1, which transformed the existing 55,000 sq ft building into 74,700 sq ft of office and retail space.
Highly commended: Muse Developments
During 2020, leading force in town centre repurposing and place-changing urban regeneration Muse Developments completed seven units, totalling 932,681 sq ft. It had 14 projects under construction across the UK with a GDV of £660m. Despite challenges, it delivered an adjusted operating profit of £68.5m on revenue of £3bn and reported a secured order book of £8.3bn, up 9% year on year.
Sponsored by Savills
Joint winner: Daniel Murray, NearU
The judges picked NearU founder Daniel Murray as a joint winner for developing a proptech app that allows employees and companies to find flexible office spaces nearer to where they live. After its launch, it was able to raise £450,000, despite the pandemic. One of NearU’s core values is sustainability. The app minimises people’s commute, which has a positive knock-on effect of reducing overall emissions. The company also has a minimal environmental impact, having no head office and a team that largely operates remotely from spaces near them.
Joint winner: Sanmi Adegoke, The Hill Hub
The brainchild of Rehoboth Property International chief executive and director Sanmi Adegoke, The Hill Hub is a co-working and private office space, which was completed in just 10 months while adhering to strict Covid-19 guidelines. Within less than a month of opening, it had achieved 25% occupancy. Adegoke noticed the struggle that faith groups faced in acquiring suitable buildings, leading Rehoboth to take on development and conversion projects and create purpose-built sites to serve clients’ needs for years to come. Starting with a client base of just five, the business now has circa 3,000 church clients.
Sponsored by RSM
Winner: OakNorth Bank
OakNorth Bank provides loans of £500,000 to £50m to the UK’s ‘missing middle’ businesses – which are the most significant contributors to economic growth but struggle to access debt finance. Since its launch in 2015, it has provided £5.3bn to UK businesses in a range of sectors, helping to create 22,500 jobs and more than 17,600 homes. When the pandemic hit in January 2020, OakNorth’s first action was to run stress scenarios related to potential supply chain disruption from China on its loan book. By mid-February, it had run six portfolio stress tests across its loan book, on a granular, loan-by-loan basis.
Sponsored by Rehoboth Property International
Health & Wellbeing initiative
The Workman team at Central Retail Park, Falkirk, impressed the judges by creating an urban garden in a disused service yard aimed at increasing green space, improving mental health and creating community links. The team identified two unused areas that could be repurposed. One space was turned into a wildflower meadow and the other provided a sheltered location ideal for a garden with raised beds.
Highly commended: Orchard Street Investment Management
Orchard Street’s Bauhaus is an exemplary office refurbishment emphasising occupiers’ health and wellbeing and is the only UK office refurb that has received a WELL ‘Gold’ certification. The building management team ensures the building has a meaningful and positive impact on the local community.
Sponsored by Octopus Real Estate
Industrial Agency Team
Winner: JLL Industrial & Logistics Group
JLL Industrial & Logistics Group completed 566 deals amounting to 30.8m sq ft across all industrial sectors, reflecting a 66% year-on-year increase in square feet transacted.
JLL also delivered 40% of all big-box transactions in 2020, and combined with the Industrial & Logistics Capital Markets business to create a virtual super-group – comprising 98 fee-earners – to provide clients with seamless service delivery of expertise across the industrial and logistics industry. JLL was also the highest-ranking real estate adviser to make Stonewall’s top-100 LGBT-inclusive employers for the second consecutive year.
Sponsored by Shoosmiths
Investment Agency Team
Winner: ACRE Capital Real Estate
ACRE Capital Real Estate transacted £1.74bn in 2020, up 41% on 2019, accounting for around 11% market share with a team of only 10 fee-earners. The company transacted 11.64m sq ft, up 45% year on year. During the year, it undertook 49 transactions including a £260m off-market sale for Starwood, a £119m purchase for Pictet and a £105m off-market disposal for Nuveen. It also increased employee diversity and introduced environmental initiatives such as a cycle-to-work scheme.
Sponsored by Dentons
Irvine Sellar Award
Joint winner: Kevin McCabe, Scarborough Group
One of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs, Kevin McCabe’s career in property stretches back six decades. Scarborough Group International (SGI), of which McCabe is founder and chairman, has its roots in the mid-1970s, when McCabe established his first corporation, County Properties. McCabe has won several awards and donated more than £2m through the company’s Scarborough Foundation charity. In April 2020, McCabe arranged for 30,000 face masks to be flown from China for use at hospitals in England after hearing that NHS workers were struggling to get personal protective equipment.
Joint winner: Steven Skinner, HB Reavis
Skinner started his career at Savills’ City investment team and joined BNP Paribas Real Estate in 2013 as director, central London investment. He became head of West End offices and head of West End investment at BNP PRE before joining HB Reavis in 2017 as transactional director, responsible for developing the company’s UK business and leading teams through acquisitions, leasing, financing, asset management and marketing. In 2018, he became UK chief executive of HB Reavis and was tasked with delivering high-profile office developments in London such as Bloom Clerkenwell and Elizabeth House, Waterloo.
Sponsored by Sellar
Legal and/OR professional team
Winner: CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro Olswang
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, CMS pulled its people together and made sure that wellbeing and unity were at the forefront of its operations. Covid shifted the focus to innovation, collaboration and greater efficiencies. CMS is an expert in all real estate asset classes, from logistics to data centres; life sciences to offices; retail to solar farms; build to rent to healthcare; and more. The firm is also the first-ever legal partner of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, the leading ESG benchmark for real estate.
Highly commended: Colliers
Not only did Colliers Rating grow its client base and market share in a challenging year, but it showed outstanding leadership. The team stepped up to the plate to lobby the government and help businesses obtain significant grants, savings and refunds, while navigating the complex business rates appeals system.
Sponsored by Blackstock
NearU was founded by Daniel Murray, who raised £450,000 at the end of March 2020 to drive the business forward. Since then, it has not only survived, but thrived. Its revolutionary app connects employees to flexible desk space and meeting rooms. The flexible workspace Airbnb lets people search and book flexible office space near to where they live in more than 350 locations. The brand plans to expand worldwide and has struck its first international partnership, in Budapest.
Highly commended: MiddleCap
MiddleCap’s impact on the London commercial property scene has been significant since its arrival just three years ago. As a pioneer for smart buildings, creating offices with sophisticated, integrated technology that drives sustainability and wellbeing, it is setting the blueprint for the future of the office.
Sponsored by VTS
Winner: Carrick Real Estate
Carrick Real Estate is a niche investment agency based in Manchester. Set up by Steve Carrick in September 2017, the company provides clients with a bespoke, highly personalised service with absolute accountability. The company remained open and accessible to its clients during 2020. Carrick guaranteed that clients would have their property investment on the market within one week of instruction. Carrick transacted more than £100m of investment deals with a small team of two (one fee-earner).
Sponsored by LandAid
Office agency team
Winner: Knight Frank
Knight Frank’s values stood the test in 2020. Its partnership ethos
was its source of strength throughout the pandemic, with its office agency teams remaining close partners to its clients in an uncertain market. The company selected its second KFX cohort with eight new board directors, with diversity, technology and sustainability as its priorities. Additionally, through its Connect 55 strategy, it upgraded its 55 Baker Street HQ to create exceptional spaces to collaborate, learn and thrive.
Highly commended: Hedge Real Estate
Hedge was created to provide advice that considers the whole spectrum of workspace possibilities. Combining the use of data and technology, it tracks thousands of signals to predict occupier movement and target growth companies. The company has secured leasing instructions from Derwent London, The Crown Estate, GPE, The Office Group, The Pollen Estate, Shaftesbury and Squire & Partners. It is certified net zero carbon and has installed processes to reduce its carbon footprint to maintain this status.
Sponsored by HB Reavis
Winner: Alistair Elliott, Knight Frank
As ever, the candidates for personality of the year are nominated by our esteemed judges. This year’s winner by a country mile was the hugely popular senior partner and group chair of Knight Frank, Alistair Elliott. Elliott is retiring from the agency next spring after 38 years with the business, during which he has made it a global force to be reckoned with, while retaining its partnership structure. He is not quite ready to hang up his property boots yet, though. Next April, he joins the board of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland as a non-executive director.
Sponsored by Freeths
Winner: English Cities Fund for New Bailey, Salford
New Bailey in Salford is a game-changing, mixed-use scheme that has transformed a once underutilised brownfield space along the River Irwell into a bustling commercial hub.
Highly commended: Capital & Centric and HBD for Kampus, Manchester
Kampus is a £250m garden neighbourhood in Manchester city centre. The site is being transformed into more than 500 apartments to rent across five assets.
Sponsored by UKGBC
Property Fund Manager
Winner: Newcore Capital Management
Founded in 2011 by Hugo Llewelyn, Newcore invests in UK social infrastructure assets and strives to have a strong social and environmental impact. It currently has £300m of assets under management in four discretionary value-add funds and two core separate accounts.
Highly commended: Fabrix
In the wake of Covid, Fabrix broadened its target criteria from office to workspace and widened its geographical scope. This allowed the fund to execute on a wider range of strategies across London. It has since acquired five new buildings with a weighted average forecast IRR of 15.50%.
Sponsored by Yardi
Winner: Great Portland Estates
Great Portland Estates remained highly active throughout the pandemic, notleast on the development side of the business. In the last year, it completed The Hickman, a 75,300 sq ft office in Whitechapel, as well as Hanover in the West End, which is already 75% let or under offer.
Highly commended: Native Land
Last year saw traditionally residential-focused Native Land complete its first dedicated office building. OneThreeSix George Street in the West End is a 44,500 sq ft building developed in partnership with The Portman Estate. The project is targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’, WiredScore ‘Gold’ and WELL Building ‘Ready’ ratings.
Sponsored by Hollis
Metrikus provides software that combines multiple data sources and sensors to provide insights into how buildings are performing, making spaces smarter and more sustainable. Since the start of the pandemic, it has shifted its focus to supporting building owners and occupiers in making sure their buildings are safe.
Highly commended: Beringar
Beringar utilises sensors to measure 15 metrics relating to environmental quality and how well a space promotes wellness. As a result, its software can display live or historical data on how well a space is performing, utilising heat maps and bar graphs, and how that aligns to standards such as WELL, BREEAM and LEED.
Sponsored by Clockwise
Retail, Leisure & Hotel Agency
Winner: The Coffer Group
The Coffer Group was praised by the judges for helping clients navigate the retail and hospitality minefield during Covid and for creating new flexible and creative leasing models. The judges also noted the impressive number of transactions in a very difficult year for hospitality and some interesting leasing and investment deals. “Very consistent and very impressive,” was the judges’ overall verdict.
Highly commended: Distrkt
Highlights of the last year for Distrkt included working for Borough Market Trust as its sole food and beverage adviser on the new Borough Yards development. Appointed at the height of the pandemic, Distrkt has already brought in three new independent operators to the estate. In addition, it points to its work with MJMK, for which it secured the former home of the IceBar on Heddon Street for its Casa do Frango brand.
Highly commended: Torridon
Torridon was founded in the midst of the pandemic by director William Biggart. While many in the sector were putting their heads under the covers and waiting for Covid to be over, Biggart says he saw that the crisis would lead to structural changes in the market and landlords and operators alike would need specialist advice. Almost all the deals Torridon has done since then have been on a base and turnover rent model.
Sponsored by Whitbread
Social Impact Initiative
Joint winner: Assura
Assura is a national, long-term investor in and developer of community healthcare property. The company launched its SixBySix strategy last year, aimed at benefitting six million people within six years through improvements to its buildings and their surrounding communities. Assura says this underpins its approach to reducing the environmental impact of its buildings, with 2020 seeing 12 developments reaching BREEAM ‘Very Good’ or better. It also continued to reduce energy consumption across its portfolio, with the aim of bringing every building to an EPC rating of B or better by March 2026.
Joint winner: Interim Spaces
Charity Interim Spaces unlocks opportunities for emerging to mid-level creative talent across London by partnering with landlords for interim, rent-free use of otherwise empty buildings. The workspaces and studios provided by the charity are among the most affordable in the country.
Sponsored by: Knight Frank
Young Property Personality
Winner: Guy Horne, HSPG
Guy Horne founded HSPG in early 2015 alongside co-founder and school friend David Searle. He set out to solve the UK homelessness crisis, believing that everyone deserves a comfortable and safe home. Simultaneously, he recognised a gap in the market for social impact investors seeking opportunities in residential property. Under Horne’s leadership, HSPG has been at the forefront of innovation in social housing. Its partners include more than 50 local authorities, including flagship projects for organisations such as Manchester City Council. He has overseen the investment of more than £200m.
Highly commended: Francesca Brady, AirRated
During her masters degree in environmental geoscience, Francesca Brady became passionate about indoor air quality and so in 2019 she joined AirRated. As head of environmental research, she contributed to the development of the AirScore – the global benchmark for indoor air quality. Within just 12 months, Brady was fast-tracked to the position of chief executive. A young woman paving the way in a heavily male-dominated industry, Brady is now leading the charge in helping the company to grow and scale internationally.
Sponsored by Irwin Mitchell
Hall of Fame
Three more industry legends were inducted into Property Week’s Hall of Fame at the 2021 awards:
Born in 1945, Elliott Bernerd started his property career at Michael Laurie & Partners prior to its incorporation with Morgan Grenfell Group. In 1986, he co-founded development and investment company Chelsfield with Sir Stuart Lipton and went on to deliver iconic schemes such as Stockley Park, among many others.
During an illustrious career, Bernerd served as a governor and chairman of the South Bank Board and was responsible for the vision behind the reconstruction of the Royal Festival Hall.
In a rare interview in 2003 following a cancer diagnosis, Bernerd told Property Week: “I work out four times a week, I work six days a week and I work until eight at night.” This work ethic has stood him in good stead and he is still doing deals – just last month it was announced he had bought a 30% stake in Fletcher King.
Entrepreneur Mark Dixon dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start a sandwich delivery business. He went on to hold jobs as a logger and an encyclopaedia salesman before creating flexible workspace provider Regus in 1989 after identifying a need for flexible office space when he noticed businesspeople meeting around coffee tables.
In 2000, Dixon successfully floated IWG on the London Stock Exchange and in 2019 the company surpassed 50m sq ft of office space globally.
Today, IWG operates a number of different flexible workspace brands, including Regus, in more than 3,000 locations globally. Earlier this year, Dixon said the Covid-19 pandemic had posed one of the greatest challenges in the group’s history but also “provides our greatest opportunity in 31 years”.
Melanie Leech had some big shoes to fill when she took over from former British Property Federation (BPF) chief executive – and fellow Hall of Fame inductee – Liz Peace in 2015. But fill them she has.Over the past year and a half, the former police constable and director-general of the Food and Drink Federation has become ever more outspoken on behalf of the commercial property industry on a wide range of issues.
If she isn’t berating the chancellor over his failure to introduce fundamental business rates reform, she is calling on the government to provide the right regulatory framework to enable the industry to get to net zero carbon. Indeed, the BPF recently helped shape UKGBC’s Net-Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, outlining how government, local authorities and the property and infrastructure sectors can come together to reduce emissions.
- Adam Bray, director of customer and place strategy, business space property management, Savills
- Melanie Leech CBE, chief executive, BPF
- Paddy Allen, head of operational capital markets, Colliers
- Penny Audsley, PAPR
- Louise Brooke-Smith, international development and strategic planning adviser, Consilio Strategic Consultancy
- Ben Channon, director, Ekkist
- Darren Comber, chief executive, Scott Brownrigg
- Nick Coote, founder and director, CRE Advisors
- Munish Datta, director, UKGBC
- Savannah de Savary, founder and chief executive, Built-ID
- Michael Dean, co-founder and principal, Avamore Capital
- Angelica Donati, head of business development, Donati
- Sally Duggleby, vice-president, capital deployment and leasing, Prologis
- Ed Dunningham, managing partner, commercial, Allsop
- Fiona Freeman, managing director, FTI
- Susan Freeman, partner, Mishcon de Reya
- Tony Gibbon, owner, BH2
- Andrew Groves, partner, head of capital markets, Bidwells
- Harry Harris, director, SUSD London
- Stuart Harris, chief operating officer, Milligan Retail
- Jane Hollinshead, director, IJD Consulting
- Dara Huang, founder, Design Haus Liberty
- Andrew Issott, marketing director, BE Offices
- Andrew Jackson, principal and managing director, Avison Young
- Gerald Kaye, chief executive, Helical
- Anouk Khan, chief operating officer, Real Estate Women
- David King, principal, Harbert Management Corporation
- Vivienne King, managing director, ViK Consulting
- David Kosky, co-founder, Work.Life
- Jonathan Maher, development director, Bericote Properties
- Phil Mayall, Muse
- Will Mooney, partner, head of national commercial development, Carter Jonas
- Jackie Newstead, partner, Hogan Lovells
- William Newton, president and managing director, WiredScore
- Zvi Noé, founding partner, Noé Group
- Simon Prichard, senior partner, Gerald Eve
- Mark Robinson, property director and co-founder, Ellandi
- Darren Rogers, partner and head of European real estate group, Fried Frank
- Steven Skinner, chief executive, HB Reavis
- Harvey Soning, chairman, James Andrew International
- Camilla Topham, director, Distrkt
- Scott Tyler, senior partner, Allsop
- Roger Wade, chief executive and founder, Boxpark
- Martin Wallace, senior vice-president – leasing, Brookfield Properties
- Maria Wiedner, chief executive, Real Estate Women
- Paul Wilkinson, principal, retail investment, Avison Young
- Chris Wilkinson, managing partner, Maples Teesdale
- Mickola Wilson, joint owner, Seven Dials Fund Management
- James Young, Head of Investor Services, EMEA, Cushman & Wakefield