Admiral’s Cardiff Property Move

Geldards has advised FTSE 100 insurance group Admiral on its move away from its premises in Cardiff’s Capital Quarter and the property’s transition to BT Group’s ownership.

The move marks the biggest office property deal in Wales this year.

BT Group’s acquisition of the property comes as part of its multimillion-pound investment in Cardiff. The telecoms giant intends to create a hub in the Capital Quarter for more than 900 employees, who are expected to move in by the end of the year. Through its “better workplace” programme, BT intends to see its 300 locations focused on 30 UK hubs by 2024, with further projects slated to take place in Birmingham and London.

The Geldards team was led by partner Ioan Owen (commercial property) and comprised partner Andrew Evans (tax), senior associate Claire Laviers (infrastructure and construction) and solicitor Georgia Evans (commercial property).

Huw Llewellyn, head of property at Admiral, thanked the Geldards team in a statement. “Their support and flexibility ensured a smooth and successful journey from initial marketing through to completion,” he said.

 

Lawyer Monthly had the pleasure to speak with Ioan Owen, Partner at Geldards to give us some further insight into this transaction:

Please tell us more about the role your team played in the transaction and the skills you employed.

Geldards has a long-standing relationship with Admiral, having first advised them back in 1998 on their office move to Cardiff. Geldards were pleased to advise on subsequent office developments, including a new city centre headquarters development in 2011 and its further expansion into Swansea and Newport. Since then the working landscape has changed immeasurably and Admiral’s ongoing property strategy has included a consolidation of their office spaces to reflect their commitment to a permanent hybrid working model, driven by workforce demand.

Immediately on being instructed we put a team together drawing on experience from our real estate, infrastructure and tax teams to take the matter forward to a successful conclusion. The transaction was partner-led and the matter was dealt with at the appropriate level. At Geldards, we pride ourselves on ensuring that matters are conducted with the full involvement of partners and other senior lawyers to provide clients with the most successful outcome.

Did you encounter any challenges during the process? If so, how did you overcome them?

As expected, Admiral were keen to bring the transaction to completion as soon as possible. We therefore arranged to provide BT’s lawyers with the contract documentation and title package to a tight internal client-led deadline and then progressed the matter to suit Admiral with its timescale for vacating the building. It can be difficult at times to keep the pressure on the other side to take matters forward, but we worked together with our counterparts to bring the matter to a successful conclusion within the timescale envisaged by the client.

You mentioned that the Admiral-BT deal “reflects the huge changes we have seen in workforce demands over the past two years”. Can you tell us more about this trend?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major changes in the way we all work and use our office spaces. Organisations are responding to the demand and opportunities for hybrid (home) working and, as a result, reviewing their need for and allocation of office space. Whist the demand for quality office space will continue, it is likely to evolve to become hybrid in nature – a collaborative focal point for organisations rather than a place where we work all day and every day during the working week.

 

 

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