Quinn Estates Ltd owned by controversial developer Mark Quinn has been awarded a £140,000 contract by Folkestone & Hythe District Council to fit out the first floor and part of the second floor of Connect 38 (Ashford) purchased by FHDC in March 2019 for £17 million
On the 21 Feb 2017, Quinn Estates Kent Limited and George Wilson Developments Limited as joint owners of Ashford Commercial Quarter Ltd (ACQ Ltd) purchased the land where Connect 38 in Ashford now stands for £2 plus VAT.
In that time the two owners of ACQ Ltd, Mark Quinn & George Wilson built out Connect 38 using approx £10 million in bank loans, while plus providing the bank with personal guarantee of £1 million plus interest, costs, fees and overrun costs.
As an aside, the land was once owned by SEEDA, who Dr Susan Priest worked for, who then sold it to Ashford Borough Council, who sold it to ACQ Ltd for £2 plus VAT
After the Council purchased the property a six month Deed of Guarantee was put in place – between Quinn Estates (the developer) and FHDC whereby Quinn Estates were committed to paying the rent and associated costs with the vacant space until the time they leased the remainder of the space to third parties. Under this agreement, they were also obliged to complete the CatA fitout as part of any new leases agreed and £400,000 was held in escrow to enable Quinn to carry out the works. Despite several leads, the space was not leased by Quinn. The difficulty letting the space was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic when interest disappeared. The Deed expired in November 2019 following which the escrow monies were returned to FHDC.
In March 2021, the Council’s marketing agent for the building confirmed interest in office space. In April 2021, FHDC appointed Martello Consultancy (Folkestone) to prepare a Cat A specification and tender the works through the Kent Business Portal. A heads of terms to let the space have been prepared. The headline terms as currently drafted are set out as follows:
Term: 6 year lease with a break and review at Year 3
Service Charge: £15,900pa
Incentive: 3 months rent free start of lease; and 3 months rent free at Year 3
Commencement: end-July 2021
On the 27 May,2021, the Council awarded a £140,000 pound contract to Quinn Estates Ltd to fit out the first and second floors of the Connect 38 building.
Under the Council’s Urgent Decision powers they utilised part of the £400,000 previously held in escrow to ensure the work be carried out forthwith, to enable the tenant to move in by the end of this month, so as to bring a £108,000 worth of rent to the Council.
Once again the Tory and Labour Party donor, Mark Quinn (pictured) has secured further monies from the Council’s Connect 38 project.
Should we be surprised Mr Quinn won the contract?
We’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime