04 November 2013

Property expert Vail Williams is celebrating 25 successful years of supporting business and commercial property investment.

In the quarter-century since Vail Williams was formed from the merger of Pearson Williams & LS Vail & Son, the UK has seen five different prime ministers; the birth of the internet; and the first British men’s Wimbledon champion in more than seven decades.

The firm has grown from a staff of 70 across six offices in 1988 to more than 130 staff now advising clients throughout the UK from five regional centres in Birmingham, London and across the south east region.

In honour of its landmark anniversary, Vail Williams has launched its Legacy initiative; an on-going corporate social responsibility programme which aims to make a difference in the community and inspire its employees.

Under the Legacy banner, Vail Williams’ people have raised in excess of £40,000 in the last year, distributing the funds to over 30 charities such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the Elizabeth Foundation, Chestnut Tree House Hospice, the Fountain Centre and the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.

As part of Legacy, Vail Williams also runs the Chris Perry Bursary in memory of a former partner, providing bursaries for University of Reading students in real estate. Similarly the David Nassif Memorial Fund helps support employees’ personal development including non work related development as diverse as specialty cooking to learning to sing.

Under Legacy, a flow of trainees have learned core business skills in the three years since Vail Williams started its government-backed apprenticeship scheme for school and college leavers to gain a Business Administration NVQ. After first launching in Vail Williams’ Solent region, the initiative has spread around the company giving apprentices a year’s contract and an opportunity to prove themselves and perhaps even be offered a full-time job.

Partner and chief executive Ian Rudland, who was appointed in 1997, said: “Vail Williams has flourished over the years, becoming a major name in the property sector and we are determined to continue that success.

“We’ve achieved excellent results for our clients and our business through a combination of dedication, technical skill, experience and building lasting and meaningful relationships with our clients.

“Our Legacy initiative is designed to both recognise our 25-year heritage and to reflect our commitment to the future by benefitting the communities in which Vail Williams’ people work – as well as to inspire our own staff.

“Legacy provides a real focus for us all to give something back. We are all proud of our history and standing in the business community, and want to mark this milestone achievement in a truly significant way by launching this ongoing initiative.”

Client success and continued growth

Since 1988 Vail Williams has advised clients on multi-millions of square feet of commercial property spanning

the length and breadth of the UK. Over the years, the firm has built a sound reputation for delivering property solutions and advice that contribute directly to its clients’ business success – trusted by major national and international names such as SEGRO, Oracle, Steria, Investec, Microsoft, BMW, Panasonic and the Ministry of Defence.

In the South, Solent Business Park – located midway between Southampton and Portsmouth – is a flagship achievement where dozens of successful companies are now based. Vail Williams acted for Arlington Securities throughout the assembly of the 150 acres of land in the late 1980s, as well as the master planning and marketing of the development.

Another memorable success for Vail Williams in the Solent region included the Ocean Village development in Southampton where the firm guided Rosehaugh Associated Ports Development through assembling the land, master planning and marketing.

In the Gatwick Diamond area, major clients for Vail Williams have included international firms such as Elekta, Ericsson, Roche and also professional services firms expanding in the region.

Vail Williams has been instrumental in the expansion and regeneration of two major business areas. At Burgess Hill, Victoria Industrial Estate was transformed thanks to helping Ericsson to sell its 15 acres. A pre-let deal was settled for Roche to move its 80,000-square foot HQ there, and a hotel was developed by Whitbread.

Vail Williams has also been a central player in securing planning permission for numerous developments at the Surrey Research Park over the years – the most recent being for a 40,000 sq foot research and development facility for Space Satellite Technology Ltd.

In the Thames Valley area, Vail Williams was key in helping the owner of Reading’s prominent IQ Winnersh site, SEGRO, shape its master plan to transform a largely industrial estate into a modern and popular mixed-use business park.

Vail Williams evolved from being a purely south east-based practice with the acquisition of a Birmingham-based commercial property consultancy and the opening of its Midlands office in Birmingham in 2006. Since then, Vail Williams has built upon its Birmingham base by bringing in new personnel, service lines and extending the operational reach beyond the Midlands to the north.

The purchase of Smith Melzack Pepper Angliss (SMPA) in 2009 represented a significant investment in Vail Williams’ London operations. Since then, the firm’s presence in the capital has expanded considerably, particularly in the service areas of investment, building consultancy, rating, valuation and planning.

Last year, Vail Williams signed a joint venture with Crossland Otter Hunt. The formal agreement links the two highly complementary companies in London, enabling each to deliver a wider range of services to their clients by utilising each other’s specialties.

“Over 25 years we’ve seen the highs and the lows of the commercial property market, and throughout that time we have been at our clients’ sides, supporting them with business-focused advice to add value and give them a competitive advantage,” commented Ian.

“We are very proud of our record which boasts advice and consultancy to international blue chip clients. With our technical expertise, market knowledge and experience, we have played our part in securing massive investment into communities to support economic growth.”

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