PRESIDENT'S AWARD

This special Award is presented for an outstanding contribution to the property industry. This might be a project, company or individual, or perhaps a combination of all three.

Gerald Kaye

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On Friday 24th June 2016, the pound dropped to a 31-year low and stock markets went into meltdown as the FTSE dropping by 500 points. A rare winner on that day was gold, which saw its price leap by 5% as investors sought a safe haven for their funds following the British voters’ decision to leave Europe the previous day. A couple of weeks later, with the markets still in turmoil, the new chief executive of Helical took up their role. And who better to take the helm at such turbulent times, than the reassuringly safe pair of hands of Gerald Kaye, the office market’s equivalent of gold. Over his 40 years in the property industry, Kaye has studied at, trained with, worked alongside and learnt from the best. And, with the expertise and dependability that the Reading University Land Management graduate has gathered over that time, Kaye commands enough respect and possess the required wherewithal to step into the shoes of, then work with, one of property’s biggest characters, Mike Slade, who vacated the chief executive role to take over as Helical’s chairman.

The BCO past President 2010-11 began his career a stone’s throw from Helical’s Hannover Square office at Knight Frank and Rutley – as it was then known - where he spent four years on the agent’s well-respected graduate scheme. One of Kaye’s clients was London and Edinburgh Trust, the property vehicle for industry icons John and Peter Beckwith. The brothers were so impressed with the then 26-year-old, that they got him on board to work on office projects such as 51 Eastcheap. The keen fisherman and keep fit enthusiast developed his entrepreneurial skills and understanding of financing under the tutelage of the Beckwiths and others at the firm such as director Chris Hoddell. Whilst operating in a booming post-recession market Kaye still appreciated the folly of overexposure to potential risk.

The adept skier began to appreciate the benefit of gaining the trust of the institutions and the positive long-term outlook for prime offices, two things which has held him in good stead. When London and Edinburgh were taken over by a Swedish owned property trust Kaye was selected to head up the European arm based in Brussels. Whilst Kaye’s favourite salmon fishing spot of Kharlovka River in Russia did not feature in the firm’s portfolio, its properties were spread around France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Holland. Kaye also experienced a market in recession where again his faith in location and sound financing proved valuable.

In 1994, the father of two performed his own early Brexit and took himself back to the UK, joining Helical as development director, largely responsible for offices in London and the M25/Thames Valley region. The old Radleian cut his teeth on the 200,000 sq ft, 33 Broad Street, which let on completion to Halifax Building Society. Whilst keeping his hand in on major developments such as Barts Square and The Bower, the key task for the member of the Investment Committee at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity was to define Helical as an office company. Under his stewardship, the 100-year-old firm has sold all its portfolio of non-office buildings and only kept office space which is in London or Manchester. Amongst its many awards, Helical was named the Office Agents Society Developer of the Year for 2019. Long term colleague Mike Slade stood down as Chairman in July 2019, but the Fellow of the RICS had already proved he is his own man. Throughout his career, Kaye has championed offices and thrived under the simple rule of ‘well-run buildings in good locations which are responsibly financed.’

Kaye has proved himself to be one of the most talented and experienced professionals working within the office business. His fantastic vision allows developments to flourish in all market conditions. He is someone you want on your team and his leadership, like his developments, have stood the test of time. Another trait which has served him well is his amiability, which has often been beneficial in some of his many tough negotiations. And all of that is why Gerald Kaye, someone who has served this industry so well, is more than deserving of the BCO President’s Award for 2019.