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Are you ready for a VIP stay in York?

We’ve created an exclusive partnership with five star hotel The Grand, York for Helmsley Group clients.

You’ll able to benefit from Champagne on arrival and a free hamper in your room when you book in at The Grand, York. Room upgrades will also be offered when available.

The Grand, York is Yorkshire’s most luxurious address. Housed in the former North Eastern Railway headquarters, the Grade II listed, Edwardian building is bursting with stunning architecture and original features and offers guests an unbeatable, 5 star experience in the heart of York.

A warm Yorkshire welcome is guaranteed from the moment you arrive at The Grand, with our brand new arrivals lounge, created as part of our recent £15m transformation, and an award winning Concierge team on hand to take care of all your needs and requirements.

The Grand also opened an additional 100 bedrooms this year, complete with marbled bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and modern touches adding to its portfolio of spacious rooms and suites, including the decadent Penthouse Suite which offers the ultimate in luxury with a roll top bath and stunning views across York. Our Suite guests also enjoy access to our exclusive White Rose Lounge, a comfortable and stylish space designed as both a haven of productivity and relaxation, with complimentary refreshments and dedicated work stations.

For unforgettable dining experiences, reserve a table at one of The Grand’s two restaurants. Open to both residents and non-residents, The Rise Restaurant, Terrace & Bar, serves classic modern cuisine from their open kitchen whilst 3 AA Rosette Hudsons by Craig Atchinson, offers an indulgent fine dining experience, with a nine-course tasting menu featuring the finest ingredients sourced and foraged from across the region. Our 1906 bar boasts an extensive menu of signature cocktails, hand selected wines, local ales and premium sprits, including an impressive Whiskey collection, and is the perfect place to relax and unwind pre and post dinner.

Tucked away in the atmospheric former vaults where the North Eastern Railway once stored its millions, our spa provides a tranquil and secluded escape. With an indoor pool, Nordic dry sauna, Aromatic steam room and relaxation room alongside a host of luxury treatments and packages, it is the ultimate sanctuary to relax.

For luxury experiences and unbeatable service, there really is nowhere quite like The Grand, York.

6000 trees planted to alleviate flood risk

Helmsley Group, in conjunction with Rt Hon. Michael Howard and Carole Whitby of Upside Down Design, has arranged for 6000 trees to be planted on land owned by the three parties to help prevent flooding in York.

The land is part of Yorks flood plain and its hoped the trees will eventually slow the flow and soak up water, whilst helping to improve air quality and the diversity of wildlife around the City.

The trees were planted with the aid of grants from central government and the public will have access for a minimum of 10 years to the emerging ‘Whitby Wood’.

Helmsley Group Chairman John Reeves said: “’It’s not often we get the chance to try to make a real difference to York’s green spaces. The planting of 6000 trees is going to have a huge beneficial impact on York long after the three of us are gone and our hope is that these trees will help to relieve flooding in central York in the future.”

He added: “Many feel that developers aren’t keen on looking after the environment and we hope this project shows how far from the truth this is. I’m personally a bit of a closet ‘green’ so I’m keen to see initiatives that improve the environment, just like our Urban Orchard at The Walk development in York. It’s important that we all try to look after our City and its future and green spaces can have practical benefits as well as becoming a place for local people to enjoy.’’

Arabesque House set to offer nearly 20,000sq.ft of office space for York

York businesses are struggling to find space to grow according to Helmsley Group, however one new redevelopment is set to change that. We look at the latest in office trends in the City.

“Companies wanting to expand or relocate to York are struggling to find enough modern offices. This is especially true in the city centre, where we all know space is an issue,” according to Tom Sykes, Group Asset Manager.

He adds: “Many commercial offices in York have now been converted into much needed homes for local people. As York is such a coveted place to live and there were a limited amount of homes being built, this worked well for both homebuyers and developers alike.”

“York’s heritage means we have a plethora of old buildings, yet most aren’t suitable for modern offices. This means that many growing firms are looking having to look at the out of town business parks such as York Science Park, Monks Cross, or to Clifton Moor where there are good parking provisions and access to the city centre. However even in these locations there is not enough supply to meet the demand.”

He continues: “The Local Plan was recently published and my fear is that not enough land is being allocated to commercial development.

“This would attract more major employers and keep our existing businesses and their staff here. It’s essential that our city provides enough land for new office buildings and companies to be able to flourish and grow in York.

“We don’t want York to become a commuter city to Leeds. People who live in the city should be able to work here too. There’s a real lack of supply for offices in and around York at the moment.”

“Many office buildings in the city centre are either not suitable due to their size, or have been turned into homes because of Permitted Development Rights, a planning policy which encourages development for homes.”

Helmsley Group, which owns syndicated property on behalf of investors, has many properties that have already been converted into residential.

He adds: “Several York based companies have approached us as they look to grow their businesses in the city.  They are looking for suitable space with good services and not too much traffic, which at the moment exists only outside the city walls. We have a commercial office building at Monks Cross – Arabesque House – which could be ready within a few months for a local employer looking for a larger space and modern office, yet this is one of the few available at present. As a group we’ve invested over £20m in York office space in the last few years, however this is mostly full and businesses need even more.”

Matthew Tootell, Director at property agency Bowcliffe, confirms: “There’s a real lack of quality office space in York and certainly none with excellent parking provisions and amenities, so the refurbishment of Arabesque House on Monks Cross will create an excellent opportunity for businesses to relocate.”

He continues: “Local firms want to expand and stay in York, though many currently don’t have the opportunity due to a lack of suitable space. York Central is planned and there are more plans at Piccadilly, yet these developments will be a few years in the making and at the moment there’s no availability for good quality offices in the city walls.

Helmsley Group launches new branding

As part of a continued focus on growing Helmsley Group portfolio, a new logo will be launched this Summer.

The business has been working with The Wrapped Agency, a York based digital brand agency on the new look, which will be unveiled this July.

Richard Peak, Managing Director, who has overseen the project, comments: “We’re confident that the new logo reflects the professionalism of the Helmsley Group and we’re looking forward to rolling out the new brand across our business.”

Kate Eady, Creative Director at Wrapped, adds: “We’ve enjoyed creating the new logo and believe it will create a more modern look for Helmsley Group across its print, digital and event brand activity.”

Helmsley Group gets theatrical as Shakespeare’s Rose theatre pop up arrives in York

Helmsley Group is one of the lead sponsors of this Summer’s Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York.

Sue Jones, Group Financial Controller at Helmsley Group comments: “We do have a limited number of friends and family discount tickets, so any clients who’d like the chance to come along can get in touch.”

She adds: “This is a major coup for the City and we can’t wait to see Shakespeare performed live in this iconic space.

“As part of the activity we’ll be hosting an evening in August with the York based Women in Property group.

“We’ve also been running a competition and two lucky winners have won the chance to come along to the gala opening night of Macbeth in June.”

For further information please contact candice-robertshaw@helsmley.co.uk

This week we’re asking Richard Peak, MRICS Managing Director at The Helmsley Group about the property market

What’s your role at Helmsley Group?
I’ve been Managing Director since last October when, as part of our succession planning, we restructured the shareholding of Helmsley.

I joined 20 years ago as Group Surveyor, when we were just a small team based over in Pocklington.

I’ve been a Board Director since 2003 and have been involved for many years in the corporate governance and strategic planning for the business. When I started I was young, with no grey hairs and wrinkle free – how time affects us all!

Since 2008, my ‘day job’ has been leading our lending division, providing development funding for small developers, whilst offering investment opportunities for our client investors.

I’m incredibly proud of how the team has grown the loan book over the years to nearly £20M presently lent to borrowers, which is the highest it’s ever been.

In my new role as MD, I work closely with Sue Jones (our Group Financial Controller) and Ged Keary (our Non-Exec Director) to ensure the business runs smoothly.

Part of Helmsley Group is FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulated, so I have the bonus title of ‘CF10’, which deals with compliance and oversight. Luckily, Candice Robertshaw (our full time Compliance Officer) does a sterling job keeping all of us in check.

What projects are you currently working on?
As well as growing our lending activities, the business has been planning for Director Ian McAndrew’s retirement this July, to ensure both Ed Harrowsmith and Tom Sykes are given all the support they need to continue to grow our investment portfolio, whilst maximising the asset management strategy for all our properties in the group.

We’re also updating our logo and branding to keep up to date. I’m sure some of Helmsley Group team and without doubt Wrapped (our brand advisors) will say I’ve been a control freak during the process, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on the project and we’re proud of the final version, which will be launched soon. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing correctly!

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone starting out in the property industry?

Firstly, it’s to have the conviction and confidence to make decisions yourself and stand by them. This is one of the core values that we’re keen everyone at Helmsley Group embraces. Be confident to make the decisions. If they’re the right ones, fantastic, if not, then be willing to learn from them.

Secondly, it’s to find the peers and mentors you respect and to model their best attributes to become a better business person.

I’ve worked with some fantastically talented and skilled people during my career and I must make special mention to a few colleagues and mentors.

Ian McAndrew gave me my first job as a trainee surveyor and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor to train me during my early years.

I was then able to gain an incredible insight into the development process and property in general from our Chairman John Reeves. John Eeles (our former FD), was always the ‘detail person’, so I learned to adopt an eye for detail that isn’t always typical for Chartered Surveyors!

Since Ged Keary joined Helmsley Group as our Non-Exec, I’ve been able to learn about business, governance and most importantly, applying a common sense approach to decision making.

What’s your favourite building and why?
I’m going to suggest two: I love the architecture of the Natural History Museum. It’s a stunning building with fantastic spaces and great exhibitions.

From a business perspective, I’m immensely proud of the office buildings that Helmsley Group and our clients built at Clifton Park on the site of the former Clifton Hospital in York.

I have a very personal link with Clifton Park as I’ve lived there for nearly 22 years now. When I was an agent, Ian and I sold the site to Helmsley Group on behalf of the Health Authority; I then joined Helmsley and helped John with its development.

How do you see the future of property going?
There’s no doubt from the feedback we hear in the office that the market for larger investments is still red hot, with some opportunities selling for massive prices (overpriced in our view), having gone through four and sometimes more rounds of ‘best and final bids’.

One of the biggest pressures in the short to medium term will be the huge wall of money looking to be invested in property, be it from small private investors or major property companies and pension funds. This will have significant effects on many areas of the market.

Older buildings will continue be converted, whether offices to residential or industrial to mixed use and leisure.

Despite the budgetary changes to buy-to-let investments, I still foresee investors buying units. Some will look to web based, peer to peer platforms as an alternative, yet these platforms still invest in property, whether it’s for development or longer term investment.

This trend will also price a significant number of first time buyers out of the market as prices continue to rise. We’ll see more people being forced to accept that long term renting is the norm.

These changes will shape the types of deals and opportunities we offer our clients.

Our mission is to develop our clients’ wealth through property and as part of this we aim to secure long term income sources at sensible yields.

We also see that offering clients the chance to invest in the short to medium term, delivering a strong level of return, as well as a defined exit route is a major growth area. This will give clients the freedom to then reinvest in new deals.

Our expert team is looking forward to sourcing many more client opportunities. We have the capability to apply the most appropriate strategies, asset manage the portfolio and generate maximum wealth for our clients, so this is an exciting time for Helmsley Group.


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