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CLIENT STORY

Avignon: Embracing the future of the real estate industry

Avignon
Avignon

The real estate investment market is transforming the way it approaches Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. Embracing this shift and embodying ESG into all aspects of its services and operations is boutique firm Avignon Capital. The UK-based company has evolved from its humble beginnings as a three-person team to a thriving European business committed to setting industry standards in ESG practices. It is their mission to be a keyplayer in the implementation of ESG in real estate and ensure its knowledge on best practice is ahead of the curve. Avignon is dedicated to investing more responsibly for its investors, anticipating sustainable returns and ESG future trends that are being increasingly demanded across the real estate sector.

Who is Avignon?

Avignon is a real estate investment and asset management boutique providing in-house investment, asset and property management services to its clients. As a powerhouse of innovation and expertise, the team of 22 talented real estate professionals manage over £700 million in assets. Avignon provides clients with a complete package of real estate services, supporting them through the entire investment cycle, from identifying deals and sourcing capital to creating comprehensive business plans. While the firm is headquartered in London, Avignon operates with offices and experts in Manchester, the Netherlands, and Germany.

At Gerald Edelman, we have been proudly working with Avignon since its inception, and have supported its growth into the dynamic and innovative business it is today.

Gerald Edelman have been supporting Avignon for many years now.

I have always been impressed by their professionalism and approachability. They truly understand the needs of us a business and are always willing to go above and beyond to provide the best solutions and have a team of experts who are always available to answer any questions or concerns I may have. Their level of support and guidance has been invaluable to me and the business and we look forward to our continued partnership.

Doug Burton-Cantley

Managing Director

Leadership at Avignon

Spearheading Avignon’s growth and success, is its forward-thinking leader, Doug Burton-Cantley. Having been with Avignon since its inception, Doug assumed the role of Managing Director last year.

After completing a surveying degree in 1997, Doug’s early career at Chantrey Davis and Miurvac PLC gave him a comprehensive foundation in real estate. Honing his skills over the past 26 years in the industry, Doug has always maintained his unique preference for dynamic boutique companies. Along with his multidisciplinary approach to real estate, his main focus is delivering strategies that add real, tangible value to clients. His overarching passion and expertise lie in transforming dated properties into large, versatile and future-proof developments.

Embracing ESG in real estate

Currently, there is no industry standard or framework for ESG within real estate. Whilst some government legislation is coming through piecemeal, Avignon takes a proactive approach in seeking ESG solutions which future proofs their client’s assets. Avignon leverages their ability to foster creativity, calculate future risks to value, and champion a forward-thinking ethos centered around ESG principles. Demonstrating a profound commitment, Avignon passionately endeavors to craft spaces that prioritise the interests of its clients, the community, and the planet. It has a strong track record of transforming real estate into ESG-performing assets that promote energy efficiency and social impact.

For example, Avignon recently lead the refurbishment of an office block in Lisbon with a heavy emphasis on the buildings environmental impact. Utilising the natural architectural attributes wherever possible, the asset now boasts an impressive 65,100 sqft of world-class office accommodation, in an environmentally friendly, energy efficient building achieving BREEAM In Use Excellent rating.

Furthermore, two of their office projects in Berlin placed an emphasis on social impact during their development. Avignon worked intensively with the existing tenants to deliver a new brand and create new initiatives, a strong eco system, increasing tenant engagement. Green leases were implemented with restaurant providers to ensure locally sourced produce from specific providers. New lettings were determined with strict ESG requirements to ensure the campus ethos.

What sets Avignon apart?

While Avignon takes a fresh approach to real estate and its creative team delivers first-class client service, its commitment to ESG principles ensures it stands out in the real estate market. At least 60% of its portfolio boasts an impressive B or better rating on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). Avignon also has extensive experience in leading BREEAM certifications and train its employees to understand the benchmarks required, ensuring BREAAM standards are considered before CAPEX works. However, Avignon aspires to do more. The company aims to raise its standard further, striving to achieve 89% of its portfolio rated B or better by 2025.

As a boutique business, Avignon combines specialised real estate expertise with a deep understanding of different geographies. Avignon’s presence in various European markets gives investors and clients confidence in its ability to navigate diverse and complex real estate landscapes. This unique combination of skill and local experience sets Avignon apart as a reliable and capable partner. Meanwhile, their commitment to sustainability secures their reputation as a forward-thinking and responsible real estate business.

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