Brothers buy £1m new HQ to enable lift company £6m growth plan

19/03/2024
Fraser (left) and Andrew Renwick have bought Affinity House to be the new home of Caltech Lifts.

THE brothers who run Caltech Lifts have unlocked the next phase of its plan to grow to £6m turnover and improve its service by buying a new HQ building in Dundee with warehouses and rental offices for £1m.

The family firm, established in 1978 by Howard Renwick and run since 2013 by two of his sons – Andrew and Fraser – is one of Scotland’s leading suppliers and maintainers of lifting equipment, including passenger lifts, goods lifts, disabled access lifts and stairlifts to the public and private sectors, and maintains more than 1,500 lifts across the UK.

Its planned growth to £6m turnover has long been constrained by the size of its HQ at the Port of Dundee, necessitating the use of shipping containers in its car park to store equipment and parts as well as admin staff working across more than one office inside and remotely.

Now the ambition to unlock the next stage of the Renwick brothers’ growth plan has been met through the purchase of Affinity House in the city’s Dryburgh Industrial Estate for £1m from Affinity Business Centre Limited by Calsum Property Ltd, a commercial property firm set up by Andrew and Fraser with two close business associates. The deal was financed with a commercial mortgage from Allica Bank via Breadalbane Finance and plus investment from Caltech and the other investors, who will help with the running and promotion of the business centre.

For that they’re gaining the thriving two-storey 2,000 square-metre Affinity Business Centre, two warehouses totalling 666 square-metres, a store, a 40-space car park with seven EV charging points and a 0.4-acre service yard with a 5kW wind turbine. The business centre features 29 high-quality offices and its 15 tenants include firms from a range of sectors including homecare, subsea engineering, legal, communications networks and marketing.

The Renwicks and their business partners plan to continue to run Affinity House as a fully-let business centre – renting out office and storage space, including a hot-desking area. Caltech will use one of the warehouses as well as an open-plan office which has an internal office, meeting room, kitchen and can comfortably accommodate 25 people. The building also has a gym for tenants and staff. Caltech plans to move in by June.

Lift showroom

The firm also aims to set up a showroom for passenger lifts, platform lifts and stairlifts – so clients can see them in person before buying. It will also enable Caltech to host technical seminars for clients’ design teams as well as conduct apprentice training in a controlled unpressured environment.

Fully-let, the centre is projected to yield tenant rental income of £372,000 a year, including from the units Caltech uses. That will be supplemented by a plan to rent out self-storage containers in the service yard and the warehouse and store Caltech won’t use. The new owners predict that could increase annual rental income to £420,000..

Speaking about the step-change in Caltech’s growth plan, Managing Director Andrew Renwick said: “This was always a hefty goal for us on our road to the future Caltech we envision – one we’ve been looking to achieve for the last eight years. We looked at several premises, but it had to be the perfect place for us.

“This move will allow us space to accommodate more staff, equipment and parts for increased orders as we grow from £4.2m turnover and six-figure profit in 2022-23 towards our £4.5m 2023-4 turnover target and on to our £6m growth aim.

3-year goals

“Our three-year goals are doubling our maintenance portfolio, further expanding our service south of the border, opening an office in Glasgow to better support the team working there and increasing our ‘turnkey installations’ by 50% – where we take on a principal contractor role and bring in our sub-contractors associated with the complete all-trades work associated with lift installations.

“Our customers will benefit from: being able to come and see our product offerings; the bigger warehouse allowing more parts to be held in stock – so enabling quicker repairs; more efficient back office support to our field engineers as we look to add to our admin and operations team – which will make things more slick and streamlined and better prices from manufacturers as the volume of our sales increases.

“Part of our growth strategy is long-term investment, so this continues that. We always aimed to be ‘live-in landlords’ as it makes sense for the business and we’re confident we’ll be good at it. We have some spare offices and hot-desks, so any prospective tenants should get in touch.

“Importantly, the wellbeing of our staff when in the office will improve thanks to the great staff rooms, brand new kitchens, shower facilities, meeting rooms, barbecue area we plan to create and the gym. This building has lots of great things which make it a really positive working environment.

“We’re relishing the prospect of the new heights we can achieve for the company, its customers and staff after we move in.”

Kyle Moir, Partner in Commercial Property at Thorntons Law, acted for Caltech on the deal, which was completed on February 29.

For details of its products and services, go to Caltech’s website at caltechlifts.co.uk

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