The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Kilmarnock town centre regeneration defies UK economic downturn

By: Alan Woodison

KILMARNOCK is defying the UK economic crisis with the announcement yesterday that a spectacular £65million hotel and shops development is planned for the town.

The proposed Encore project, a five-storey commercial complex in the heart of the Ayrshire town, flies in the face of the nationwide property slump.


[Pictured: The Encore Emporium. An artist’s impression of the boutique-styled shopping Emporium over 5 floors. The new roof material is copper.]

The good news is even better for local residents in that the scheme will involve a complete revamp of a collection of eyesore buildings.


[Pictured: The Encore Boutique Hotel. An artist’s impression of the boutique hotel, looking down Dunlop Street to the thatched roofed Whisky Hub, which will include the first whisky ice bar in Scotland.]

These Victorian properties on the main route to the dated railway station have long been derelict, with one ancient frontage having been propped up by scaffolding for 20 years.

The triangular 40,000 sq ft Encore development will take the form of a 26-room boutique hotel and a magnificent shopping emporium consisting of specialist retailers and stylish caf├ęs and restaurants.

Behind the venture is the Klin Group, a Kilmarnock-based family firm which has played a key role in the town’s regeneration since 1988.

Klin is a privately-owned property, investment and development company. Established by retired builder John Dick, it was responsible for introducing the Morrisons supermarket brand to Scotland, convincing the company to open its first store north of the border in Kilmarnock.

Klin have also converted the disused offices of a former Kilmarnock locomotive factory into plush apartments and a heritage centre complete with full-size loco engine.


The heritage centre was officially opened in January this year by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, pictured above (centre) flanked by East Council leader Douglas Reid (left) and Klin Group managing director Marie Macklin (right).

Marie Macklin (42) is Klin Group founder John Dick’s daughter, and took over the company in 2003.

Marie is desperately passionate about reshaping the future of her home town, although she also wants to extend the Encore vision to other ailing town centres as well.

She said: “The Encore project is a clear signal that the decline in the town of Kilmarnock is being reversed.

“This is not about some nice, new shiny development. It’s about a former industrial town reinventing itself into a bespoke quality-driven tourist destination.”

The Ayrshire developers believe their proposals will change the pattern of retailing across the country. Plans for the first of three phases at John Finnie Street were submitted to East Ayrshire Council last Thursday.

The details would have been well received because councillors and council officials were about to discuss regeneration ideas with enterprise minister Jim Mather.

A spokeswoman for East Ayrshire Council was unable to say how long the planning process will take. She did however confirm that they will “work to ensure the applications are progressed as quickly as possible.”

Contact:

Marie Macklin
Managing Director
Klin Group
West Langlands Street,
Kilmarnock, Ayrshire
KA1 2PR

Telephone: 01563 530454 or 07714300146
Web: www.encorekilmarnock.com
E-mail: klingroup@fsmail.net

www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk

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Friday, 5 September 2008


Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel put up for sale

By: Murdoch MacDonald

AYRSHIRE businessmen Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone announced their decision today to put Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel up for sale.

They cited a combination of the poor state of the housing market and the planning system in Scotland as the reasons behind their decision.


Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone bought the racecourse just over five years ago and have overseen a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of Scotland’s premier racecourse.

More than £14 million has been spent on a raft of improvements including the four-star Western House Hotel - Ayrshire’s premier wedding venue - the Princess Royal Banqueting Suite and Conference Centre and upgraded hospitality facilities.


[Pictured: Co-owner Alan Macdonald at Ayr Racecourse.]

Major investment has also been made in racing, with prize money for races including the two flagship fixtures the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival and the John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup Festival being substantially increased.

Ayr has thrived over the last five years, attendance figures have shown sustained increases, and the 2008 crowds to date boast the highest attendances at the track for more than 50 years. Advance ticket sales for this month’s John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup Festival also sit at a record high.


Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol (pictured above) said: “It’s business as usual. We are very proud of what we have achieved, and we look forward to providing the same high standards for the new owners.

“We are immensely proud of the team at Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel. Over the past few years we have successfully built a reputation as Scotland’s premier leisure destination, achieving accolades for both quality of food and service. I am confident that one of the key attractions for any new owner will be the professionalism of the team and the high standards they consistently achieve.

“It’s very much a case of business as usual.”


Christie & Co have been appointed as agents to oversee the sale of the leasehold racecourse and the freehold Western House Hotel.

Ayr Racecourse chairman Alan Macdonald spoke of the decision to sell and the reasons for doing so.

He said: “Richard and I stated when we bought the course five years ago that our intentions were to restore Ayr to its former glory and to ensure a long term sustainable future as Scotland’s only Grade One track.

“Cross-funding to finance both that goal and to also bring all the facilities up to a high standard was to come from residential and commercial developments on surplus land held by the racecourse.

“The planning process took five years, considerably longer than anticipated, and we had to go to Public Inquiry, but finally in May this year the process was completed.

“We now have planning consents in place for these developments, but the property market is such that it could be a few years before value can be realised from this.

“Having already spent £14 million on taking the business to where it is now and growing our status both as a racecourse and as the operator of one of Scotland’s finest hotels, we feel the time is right to invite offers from people who feel they can take it to the next level. More importantly Richard and I need to believe these are the right people.

“Significantly both these businesses - the racecourse and the hotel - operate on a profitable basis.”


Attendances of all the major meetings at Ayr have shown dramatic increases, with the Coral Scottish Grand National Saturday topping 17,000 this year - a rise of more than 8% on 2007 - while Coral Scottish Grand National Friday was 43.5 % up, and the two Family Days up by 19% and 14%.

Ayr also staged the Saints and Sinners Racenight for the first time this year, and almost 8000 people attended.


Western House Hotel (pictured above and below) has been voted Scotland’s Wedding Hotel of the Year in both 2007 and 2008 and was also awarded a Thistle Award for Customer Care by VisitScotland. The Princess Royal Centre will cater for more than 40,000 banquet covers in 2008 and a host of major conferences including the Scottish Conservative Party Conference.


Alan Macdonald added: “We have turned a sleeping giant into a vibrant multi-purpose business but the time is right to hand the baton over.”

LINKS:

www.christie.com

www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk

UKPRWire

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One retail unit remains to lease at new Kilwinning development

ON behalf of private clients, commercial surveyors Allison Lightbody Waddell have been instructed to lease an exciting new retail development in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, approximately 30 miles south west of Glasgow.

The development, which is a conversion of a former department store, provides four retail units, with only one remaining after lettings to William Hill, Tesco Express and a national charity. The remaining unit extends to 805 sq ft and is available at £11,500 per annum.

Agent Anthony Zdanowicz said: “Kilwinning has a population of around 16,000 and is well linked with a main railway line to Glasgow, Ayr and Largs. The town has a busy college and is, in our opinion, under-shopped for its size. Tesco will be moving in soon, and the town will benefit from these national occupiers.”

Allison Lightbody Waddell is a Glasgow and Ayr based firm of chartered surveyors established in 2006 with wide experience in commercial agency, investment, development and professional services. Further information can be provided by calling 01292 430313 or visiting www.alwsurveyors.co.uk

Allison Lightbody Waddell
Chartered Surveyors
12 Barns Street
Ayr KA7 1XA

Contact: Anthony Zdanowicz
Tel: 01292 430313
E-mail: anthony@alwsurveyors.co.uk
Web: http://www.alwsurveyors.com

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Thursday, 4 September 2008


Scotland’s biggest brownfield regeneration
project is in North Ayrshire


By: Murdoch MacDonald

A MASTERPLAN has been submitted for Scotland’s largest brownfield regeneration project at the Ardeer Peninsula in North Ayrshire.

The massive development will see more than £500m invested in Ardeer over the next 15 years and will create more than 1000 new jobs and 1300 new homes.


Scottish-based NPL Estates has commissioned architecture and planning practice Keppie Design to develop the plan.

NPL Estates, owners of the site, are working in partnership with North Ayrshire Council to deliver the project. It includes high quality business and industrial parks, environmental improvements, the provision for existing industry to expand, a golf and marina development, a neighbourhood centre and a major extension to Ardeer and Stevenston.

Owned by ICI until 1998, the site was formerly the largest explosives plant in the world and home to Alfred Nobel’s Explosives Company. Activity on the site was at its peak during the 1950s and 60s when nearly 15,000 people from the surrounding towns worked there.


The Ardeer Peninsula spans 1700 acres of land along the Ayrshire coastline beside the 'three towns' of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston. The core objectives of the masterplan are to clean up the site, create employment, protection and enhancement of the environment and the creation of a sustainable, extended community.

NPL Estates managing director Simon Towers said: “This exciting plan is the culmination of over 5 years design and consultation work and will deliver unprecedented regeneration in an area which has experienced a decline in socio-economic conditions following the downturn of heavy industry in the area.

“This plan will reverse those conditions and will deliver real benefits to the area and local people.”

Keppie Design associate Suzanne McIntosh commented: “We are delighted to be working on such a visionary project which will be key to reviving the whole area.

“This is one of the largest brownfield regeneration projects in the country and we look forward to continue working with NPL Estates and North Ayrshire Council and being part of such an important regeneration project.”

www.nplestates.com

www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk

The Three Towners Forum

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Tuesday, 2 September 2008


Chartered surveyors report latest commercial property purchase

ACTING on behalf of private investors, Glasgow and Ayr-based chartered surveyors Allison Lightbody Waddell have recently purchased a mixed retail and office investment at 28 Nelson Street, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.


The modern three-storey property (pictured above), which is fully occupied by Salon Services, Welcome Finance and Turning Point Scotland, was purchased for £630,000, representing a net initial yield of 7.5%.

Anthony Zdanowicz of ALW says: “Our clients are delighted with the purchase. The building has good asset management potential and at the price paid, represents good value for money. Ayrshire remains a good location for commercial investment despite the recent slowdown, and we are keen to purchase other buildings with similar potential.”

For further information contact Anthony Zdanowicz on 01292 430313.

Allison Lightbody Waddell
Chartered Surveyors
12 Barns Street
Ayr KA7 1XA

Contact: Anthony Zdanowicz
Tel: 01292 430313
E-mail: anthony@alwsurveyors.co.uk
Web: http://www.alwsurveyors.com

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Monday, 1 September 2008


Save the Children fundraising Golf Tournament at Brunston Castle

THE Maybole & District branch of Save the Children are holding their annual golf tournament on Sunday 14 September at Brunston Castle.

The event has been running for over 10 years and has always been a great fundraiser for Save the Children.


[Pictured: John Scott MSP for Ayr presents a Quaich to last year's winners Nick Larkin (right) and Dr Calvin Chape (centre).]

The Save the Children golf tournament comprises between 50 to 70 players in teams of three, playing a Texas Scramble. Team entries are still welcome, please phone or email as soon as possible.

Participation costs £120 for team of three, including coffees and bacon rolls at the start of play. Meals are available to order on the day.


[John Scott MSP for Ayr presents the Charity Scott Trophy to Joe Fergusson, last year's winner of the best score of high handicapped teams.]

Local businesses are invited to become hole sponsors: 1st, 10th and 18th £50 and all others £35, or donate raffle prizes.

Presentation of prizes at the close of play.

Enquiries:

Rebecca Cadie
ARP Lorimer & Associates
Architects & Quantity Surveyors
Telephone: 01292 289777
E-mail: rcadie@arpl.co.uk

www.arpl.co.uk

www.savethechildren.org.uk

www.brunstoncastle.co.uk

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