Welcome to our series of ‘people profiles’, highlighting the wonderful team at Waterloo Quay dedicated to ensuring our clients receive the best experience. Next up it's Shaun Eardley!
What is your role at WQ and what does it include?
My primary involvement is with the commercial side of the business, my main input being dealing with new enquiries, conducting viewings, and negotiating terms with tenants and their agents and once agreed working with our lawyers towards concluding missives, that sort of thing. I also deal extensively with our lenders, the need to refinance the property portfolio having been necessary 5 x times now over the past 20 years, but with each refinance project taking as long as an entire year to agree terms on, secure and finalise on several occasions. I also work alongside many of our excellent contractors on office refurbishment projects, although latterly this responsibility has fallen more often onto our FM team.
As an aside the least enjoyable part of my job is dealing with certain of the utility providers, particularly the myriad of companies who have jumped on the since 2008, de-regulated drainage charge gravy train. They charge a lot and often, but never really want to engage when things go wrong such as when floods disrupt us and our tenants. I do also deal with Aberdeen City Council as regards all matters pertaining to Business Rates, including advice of new arrivals, upsizers, downsizers and departees and re-assessment requirements.
The most rewarding aspect of my role has undoubtedly been the fact that since late 1993 I have been a first-hand witness to the total transformation of what was previously a disparate, neglected, and rundown collection of historic harbourside properties. I feel proud that the time effort and money invested has helped in no small way to preserve the granite heritage of Aberdeen. In fact, two of the properties have been listed by Historic Scotland whilst under our ownership and this I think, rubber stamps our commitment to the location, and to the city.
What inspired you to start WQ?
My constant daily walks from our old Seletar Shipping office, which was based on Church Street, along the frontage of Waterloo Quay, often eight, nine, ten times a day, to our then warehouse which used to be behind Merchants House. Walking past these beautiful old buildings, nearly all of them quite decrepit and most of them barely occupied, was the impetus behind buying the properties and then commencing on what to date, has been a 22-year project.
Where do you see WQ in five years?
I think without doubt that we will still be providing high quality offices within our heritage properties, but we will be actively evolving to become far more of a leisure and living destination. To explain, we plan to build on our existing “office complementary” offerings such as our flexible working space, meeting and training facilities, café and coffee shop and gymnasium and fitness centre so as to encompass food, drink and retail outlets, creative space for the arts, and also and very likely an element of residential conversion of existing buildings, and maybe even some newbuild projects. We do after all offer a prime waterside location, whilst also being one of the few main link routes for pedestrians, cyclists and cars between the retail, food, beverage, nightlife, cultural and leisure experiences available within the city centre to the extensive sporting and leisure pastimes of Aberdeen beachfront just to the east. The beachfront is constantly evolving and hopefully sometime soon, will boast a brand-new, fit for purpose community stadium, occupied by Aberdeen Football Club.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I like to travel with sunshine destinations preferable, I hill walk and Munro bag, spend time with my now grown-up children and I enjoy the gym. I’m also an avid Stoke City fan hoping for better times to arrive.