Diary of an estate agent: Bloomsbury

A scheme of seven apartments in a beautifully restored Georgian building looks promising and a close encounter with a pigeon proves to be lucky... 

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A site viewing is on the agenda today, after our regular start-the-week team meeting. We are off to see a new scheme of seven apartments in a beautifully restored Georgian building in Bloomsbury’s prestigious, tree-lined John Street. The scheme is progressing well and with the launch due this month, we are putting together the final marketing materials. 

A number of buyers on our database have already shown interest, including one with their eye on the entire top two floors, so we are confident this development will prove very popular.

It’s another early start as I am off to inspect a new apartment scheme close to Fitzroy Square. The client is known to me, we have sold some other sites for them close by. 

By mid-morning I am back in the office for an ongoing project helping a marketing company acquire a new London headquarters. They have a busy work schedule and speed is crucial because they have to move next month. Hopefully I can help reduce the stress of finding a new office and ensure we discover the best space at the most reasonable rent. 

This has involved searching the West End for places that match their budget, before making a shortlist. They want somewhere that represents their brand and impresses their clients. Demand for office space has increased dramatically in the past three or four years, leading to firms considering areas beyond their favoured West End. 

Viewings with the chief executive and director of the marketing company take us from Euston to Holborn and down to London Bridge. Later, with our sales director, Stuart, I meet the owner of a mews warehouse in Bloomsbury who is hoping to convert it into luxury apartments. 

From the outside it does not look very big but once inside, we realise it is actually a good size and offers many possibilities. Although these are early days, this is when big decisions are made — and it’s where we can help, as we know what customers are looking for. 

Some of our team have signed to run up the BT Tower in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. It’s a rare opportunity to go inside one of the capital’s most iconic buildings and since it’s on our doorstep, and for such a noble cause, I can’t pass up on the chance. But 32 floors and more than 1,000 steps mean lunchtime training up and down Goodge Street station steps could be required.

This afternoon we are discussing the offices we have viewed with the marketing firm. I’ve compiled a document analysing the pros and cons of each, and after a long discussion they decide to put in an offer for the one close to Euston. It’s the remaining unit in a new building, so I am confident of negotiating a good deal. 

After a long but productive week, I’ve arranged a viewing of a live/work unit on Regent’s Canal for a long-term client who is downsizing his photography business in King’s Cross. Finding a suitable property is tricky as many live/work units are now fully residential loft apartments. But I have found what should be a perfect new home for his business and arranged a chance to view before it hits the market.

As we enter the building we have a very close encounter with a pigeon — hopefully it means good luck. I write a report with proposals and figures to help him make a decision. These longterm projects are enjoyable — seeing them move from concept to planning to the final product and the owner moving into their new home gives me enormous satisfaction. He decides to make an offer.

As a leaving drinks party with one of our customers rounds off the week, a text message arrives with good news for my photographer client. His offer has been accepted and he’s delighted. Perhaps that pigeon really was lucky…

  • Simon Bray is business development director at Hudsons in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7631 8702).


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