Principle sparkles with third Jewellery Quarter contract

A respected businessman and property investor has appointed Principle Estate Management to look after his stock – including a smart block of apartments in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

The deal is the third major contract in the prestigious city suburb that Principle has won.

The Square on the Square on Caroline Street, just off St Paul’s Square, was built in 2005 and contains 22 leasehold apartments.

Principle will collect ground rents, arrange full maintenance and administer service charges to leaseholders at the property. The appointment also includes rent collection for mixed use residential and retail premises on Oak Tree Lane in Selly Oak, Birmingham; and strategic advice on the development of the portfolio.

The client is Simon Cuthbertson, a well-known Chartered Accountant who trained in Birmingham at  BDO, before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers (Coopers & Lybrand) where he remained for 20 years, becoming a partner at the tender age of 28. This included a spell of nine years in Liberia dodging bullets during the military coup in 1980 and revelling in a variety of tropical diseases throughout – Birmingham never seemed so tame!!

Mr Cuthbertson, who now sits on the boards of various companies and has been described as a serial entrepreneur, said: “I have a pretty full on day job, so need to rely on my property advisors to manage my property portfolio professionally. It needs careful attention to detail, and competent advice on buying, selling, developing and managing – no surprises is a good maxim.

“The directors of Principle are well-respected property professionals and Principle’s reputation is growing, so they were the obvious choice.”

The Jewellery Quarter property’s contract is slightly complex because the land was previously owned by St Paul’s Club, which has access via The Square on the Square to apartments in its own building.

The development was also built in two phases, and although it now operates as one building the leases and service charges for the two phases are separate. Co-incidentally, the Club building has just been sold and Principle have had to deal with a couple of Land Registry compliance issues to assist in the sale.

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle, said: “This contract needed someone who can get their head around these complications and, with the leases, have systems to properly allocate expenditure.

“Meanwhile, the client had consolidated an investment in Oak Tree Lane courtesy of an inheritance  and wanted someone who could also look after a commercial property. The shop tenant wanted to assign his lease and we had to sort out a complication relating to the previous assignment which wasn’t completed properly. Working closely with Blackhams solicitors as Simon’s legal advisors which is no surprise as he is – amongst other things – their Chairman; no pressure then!!

“Principle is able to do this because it’s a mixed property management specialist catering for all property and tenure types, not just traditional block management.”

Mr Williams added: “It’s a great feeling when a client instructs us to manage properties for them.

“The Square on the Square is a lovely development, just off Birmingham’s last remaining Georgian square, but needs care and attention to bring it back up to standard.

“I know we can do a really good job balancing the myriad of technical requirements of health & safety and landlord & tenant legislation, whist delivering excellent customer service to occupiers.

“With property management, there are always ancillary matters that crop up too. We have also just been instructed to negotiate and acquire a further investment property for this portfolio”

Principle was launched last year by Mr Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood in Birmingham and an experienced chartered surveyor.

The company is based at Cornwall House in Lionel Street, Birmingham, and offers a national property management service.