In 1979 Chris Morton worked as a junior for Richard Ashworth whilst he was a Partner in the industrial department of Hillier Parker May & Rowden. Chris moved on to become a partner at Fuller Peiser following time at J Trevor. He eventually ended up as Property Controller at FKI Plc.
Since 1996, Richard has given advice to and received instructions from FKI Plc on a number of properties including Lawley Middleway in Birmingham which was eventually sold to Cannon House/Carillion who developed it for Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen as car dealerships.
In 1999 FKI instructed Richard to negotiate the sale of part of their land holdings in Walthamstow adjacent to the Hawker Sidderley Power Transformers factory. The prospective purchaser was Morley who wished to extend the Homebase store adjacent, to provide Homebase with a large 100,000 sq ft unit.
Those negotiations stalled for a number of reasons but eventually FKI decided to close the whole site which extended to some 12 acres. FKI started to investigate their own application for redeveloping the site as part residential/part employment use and part retail.
The site was quietly marketed to a number of potential residential developers and again offered to the adjoining owner Morley.
An approach was received from Michael Polledri of Lee Valley Estates and within the matter of two months contracts were exchanged unconditionally with that company. Whilst FKI were prepared to pursue their own application to redevelop the site, it was felt more prudent to sell unconditionally as it appeared that Lee Valley Estates had a special relationship locally in that they were able to influence matters as a result of other land holdings in the area.
Furthermore, one of the interesting factors concerning this property was that it was the last and only remaining crane in the London area which was capable of lifting 250 tonnes. One could imagine that the demolition costs alone in respect of this crane would have been very high and contamination issues from the previous industrial use would have involved a great deal of remediation.