The team assembles in the office extra early for a start-of-the-week briefing and a review of last month. October was a record breaker for the company and we are seeing the benefits of an improved sales system that we put in place. There are certainly deals to be done, and a proactive approach is paying off.
After the meeting, I drop into Kaffeine in Eastcastle Street, Soho, for a quick cup of coffee and a chocolate brownie to die for — which might happen if I keep eating them — before heading to a valuation in a converted tobacco warehouse in Covent Garden.
I speak to Stuart, our sales director, who is negotiating with the residents association of a block in Marylebone on behalf of a buyer.
The buyers live in Scotland and see the property as an ideal pied-à-terre in the West End and, as such, will use the flat maybe two or three times a month. However, the sticking point is that they have a small dog which will be there perhaps five times a year, and there is a clause in the lease that prohibits pets at the block.
There are other dogs in the building, so you can get a licence granted, but it still involves sending emails and pictures of the dog to the residents to get their permission.
There is much laughter in the lettings team, all revolving around a penthouse that we manage. It really is a spectacular space, with the lift going all the way into the flat itself. The tenant has a playful chocolate Labrador, which has somehow managed to call the lift and enter it. The lift is then called from the ground by another tenant who inadvertently lets the dog out into the lobby. Cue chaos as the dog thinks he’s in a game of “catch me if you can” with the porter and our property manager, Jo, in hot pursuit.
First thing, I head to a networking meeting with Simon, our business development director, organised by the Fitzrovia Partnership to hear from Transport for London about the Crossrail project. The east-west rail link is certainly going to transform the Tottenham Court Road area and St Giles Circus.
With Google, Amazon and Facebook now our neighbours in Fitzrovia and Holborn, and the new French school, École Jeannine Manuel, in Bedford Square, there will be unquestionable demand for property for the foreseeable future. This is certainly the time to look for an investment in the area. My colleague, Sandrine, takes a call from a French tenant, a young professional with a healthy budget, who she worked with in August. He didn’t take a flat at the time and opted for another apartment elsewhere.
Unfortunately for him, the landlord was difficult, so he has come back to us. In no time, Sandrine has taken him out and an agreement is signed on a newly refurbished flat near University College Hospital with a well-trusted landlord of ours.
I spot TV chef Jun Tanaka, who is opening his first restaurant next door to us in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, in less than a month’s time. He is best known for presenting Channel 4’s Cooking It programme and appearances on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen. This is sure to be a destination restaurant — so I hope we are invited to the opening.
The sales team exchanges a deal on a fantastic flat in Bloomsbury. This one-bedroom apartment overlooks Red Lion Square and was owned by a chap who bought it more than 30 years ago for less than £45,000. It was on the market for more than £650,000, and it has now been purchased by someone who already has property in the block. They complete without even viewing the apartment.
It’s a big day for our Scottish dog owners buying in Marylebone. After a week of talks, we have an agreement with other residents that is subject to “certain conditions”, but a licence will be granted for our buyers’ pet to stay with them at the flat. Time to “paws for thought” at the Duke of York in Rathbone Street.
- Tony Dobbins is a general manager at Hudsons Property in Charlotte Street, W1 (020 7323 2277).