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Steele Raymond advise South Somerset District Council on the £2,550,000 acquisition of Fitness First, Poole


Steele Raymond’s top-tier commercial property team have advised South Somerset District Council on the acquisition of the freehold interest of 54 Willis Way, Poole, the former headquarters of gym industry leader Fitness First, who continue to occupy the 18,174 square foot building on an eighteen-year unexpired term.

The £2,550,000 acquisition forms a part of the council’s commercial services and income generation strategy, which has been devised to help the council to adapt to a rapidly changing financial landscape and to find alternative income streams whilst ensuring the longevity and protection of their services.

Growing commercial property portfolio

One of a number of recent commercial property investments made by the council, which include offices, retail and industrial units across the South of England, the property offers a number of benefits including a favorable location on the main route into Poole town centre, a large car park and a low capital value per square foot.

South Somerset District Council’s Portfolio Holder John Clark commented:

“In uncertain times, the council is acquiring a diverse, multi-tenanted, multi-sector portfolio, to provide an income to secure our services for future years. 54 Willis Way shows the council’s intention to diversify our portfolio, in this case adding stock at a discount to the figure we would have paid a year prior, whilst making sure any risk is mitigated as far as possible.”

The deal is yet another example of the demanding and often complex work managed by Steele Raymond’s specialist commercial property solicitors, who advised SSDC on a number of potential legal issues which were identified and mitigated as part of the freehold negotiation.

Timescales and tenacity

The legal aspects of the transaction were led by Steele Raymond commercial property partner Jennifer Rogerson, who explained the challenges in getting the deal completed in a significantly shorter timescale than is often the case for this type of work:

“Working under tight timescales can be difficult at the best of times, even more so at present due to national lockdown measures.  Despite this, we were able to complete the transaction in just over three weeks of receipt of the full legal pack.”

Brendan Fisher, Property Investment Project Manager at the council said:

“The commercial property team at Steele Raymond were fantastic to work with. Jennifer Rogerson was particularly astute and her tenacity in resolving a number of last-minute issues ensured the completion of the deal in a timely manner.”

Steele Raymond partner and head of commercial property Chris Twaits commented:

“We are very pleased to have secured a favourable deal for SSDC, despite some unforeseen challenges. To have delivered for the client within such a reduced timescale is a fantastic result and is testament to the committed and proactive approach adopted by the parties and their legal teams.”

Talk to our commercial property solicitors

If you would like to discuss your legal options with our commercial property solicitors in Bournemouth, please contact Jennifer Rogerson on 01202 294 566 or email [email protected].

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