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New commercial real estate business launches in Scotland

Hutcheon Mearns has carved a unique reputation in the field of finance, offering business finance advice and specialist finance recruitment services since its launch in 2015. Now, the business has evolved even further with the launch of Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate.

Exploring the synergy between commercial property and business deals

The commercial real estate company is a collaboration between Hutcheon Mearns owners Craig Hutcheon and Adam Maitland and commercial property specialist, Iain Landsman.

Craig said: “It’s exciting, it’s another step in the evolution of the business and a big one. Hutcheon Mearns stuck to finance before but there’s such good synergy between real estate and the finance business, particularly in the deals area.”

For example, when selling or buying a property with a client, Iain will be able to tap into the finance expertise on offer at Hutcheon Mearns. Uniquely, Iain will be able to help his clients explore alternative sources of funding, besides traditional bank lending.

Both Iain and Craig are excited to explore all the synergies between property and finance, using their skillsets to solve problems and come up with creative ideas. Meanwhile, clients will be able to get the best of both worlds: expert and local property advice from a commercial real estate business based in Scotland, alongside expert funding advice.

Iain, founder of Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate, says: “It’s an exciting new synergy that we are creating and as trusted advisors in our respective fields. We will be able to offer a tailored service that’s bespoke to what a client needs, delivered from a personable local team that treat each project as if it was our own property.”

Forging a new path to offer honest commercial property advice

Iain has spent his career based in Aberdeen, specialising in advising energy sector companies on acquisitions, disposals and rent reviews on their commercial property portfolios. He also advises institutional and property company clients in regards to their property portfolios and single properties. Iain started his career at local niche practice, Paul Gee & Co in 2007, prior to the firm being acquired by CBRE in 2008. Over the past 15 years, he has worked his way up to director level at CBRE.

Both Iain and Craig’s paths have crossed professionally on several occasions with Craig appointing Iain to act on behalf of Reservoir Group (at the time, Craig was part of Reservoir Group). There have been several other crossovers between respective clients.

Now, they are launching Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate together. Iain says: “I’m moving from the comfort blanket of working for big corporate into something where I have the opportunity to forge my own path, do things the way I want them done and offer a more personable service.”

Personable service is clearly a priority for Iain. He adds: “I’m always thinking, what would I do if it was my own property? I treat things as if they were my own, so therefore, I’m giving open and honest advice. It’s not a case of what advice do they want to hear or what advice will get me a fee. It’s best advice.”

Although it’s a new commercial real estate business in Scotland, Iain will be supported behind-the scenes by the wider Hutcheon Mearns firm.

He explains: “I’m not really setting up a one-man business – I won’t be so bogged down by running a business that I won’t be able to do deals. The tie in with Hutcheon Mearns means I’m a standalone entity but part of a group. I get the group support to let me just get on with doing it!”

Challenging convention in the field of commercial real estate in Scotland

As well as providing open, honest and trustworthy advice, innovation is a core focus for Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate.

Craig says: “Like any business Hutcheon Mearns is associated with, we’ll look to be innovative in the way we approach the market and challenge convention.”

Considering Craig’s prior business, it’s not surprising that innovation will be play an important role in this new commercial real estate business in Scotland. Iain explains: “Craig set up a financial consultancy and recruitment firm, which didn’t normally go together. Then they brought in Adam on the corporate deals side. The question then was, ‘how do we expand beyond that’, and property is the answer.

“If you speak to Adam about transactions, property is always the forgotten about bit, until the end of the deal when it becomes a problem.”

Solving people, finance and property problems for clients

Indeed, further market research reinforced that property is a common issue in deals – often, investors will pull out of deals because of property issues. Craig says: “We can address those issues upfront for all our clients and work together to present a solution that no one else can.

“In a nutshell, we’re solving the biggest problems of c-suites and business owners. It’s people solutions, it’s deal solutions and now it’s property solutions.

“So the biggest things businesses have issues with: they’ll have problems with people, so we’re addressing that in the finance field. Funding and if they need to buy or sell, that’s a huge deal for business owners. And what’s the biggest tangible asset a company has? It’s their property, aside from their actual business. We’re addressing those key things.

“At Hutcheon Mearns, we always want to be going into businesses asking what people’s challenges are. We’re not in there to sell, we want to come away from a meeting having helped or given some potential solutions. The aim is that we can help that company or business owner get to the other side of their problem.”

And while a collaboration between a commercial real estate company and finance and recruitment firm might be unusual, it’s an innovative choice that both Iain and Craig are confident in.

Craig adds: “Setting up a business that was recruitment and consultancy with no recruitment background, I was told by people I’d worked with before and people high up in finance, ‘this won’t work’- I was told that on numerous occasions. And I just thought, ‘ok, wait and see’.

“It’s all about challenging conventions, but we know this will work.”

Right time, right place: Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate in Aberdeen

While that confidence partly comes from the synergy between commercial property and deals, it’s also because now is the perfect time to launch Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate in Scotland.

Iain explains: “The wider UK is going through a challenging period. We’re based in Aberdeen which has a history of being counter-cyclical compared to where the market goes and last year, industrial-wise, Aberdeen had one of the best years in the last decade. There was a lot of volume of transactions.

“The challenge for Aberdeen is that there’s strong occupier demand but lack of quality product.

“Filling that gap with quality product has become exceptionally difficult because the cost of material means construction costs have gone up, and wider economic issues in terms of the cost of borrowing means funding these projects is challenging as well.”

This is precisely where Hutcheon Mearns Real Estate can step in. For now, the focus for Iain is on getting the business successfully launched.

For more information contact Ian Landsman – iain.landsman@hm-re.co.uk

This article was featured in The Press and Journal on 9 March 2023.

 

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