Birmingham-based CPBigwood is set to break into the London market.
Former Leicester, Moseley and Barbarians rugby player Bill Drake-Lee has joined CPBigwood to mastermind the move.
He started on Monday, July 2, as a partner with a business development role, but particularly to build a presence in the capital.
Mr Drake-Lee has extensive contacts among property developers and he will be pitching for CPBigwood to manage newly completed apartment blocks and mixed use developments.
He said: “ London has withstood the recession better than anywhere else in the country due to high demand for prime residential property and lack of supply to this demand, which developers are keen to take advantage of.
“The demand is being driven by overseas buyers who view the London residential market as a safe investment providing good returns.
“Initially we will open an office managing apartment blocks and mixed use developments, with the lettings side to follow in time.”
Mr Drake-Lee lives in Kettering, just 50 minutes on the train from St Pancras, where the office is likely to be based, but also sufficiently close to travel easily when required to CPBigwood’s headquarters in Birmingham.
Aged 41, he joins from Trinity Estates where he was working in a similar role and was previously with Langley Taylor in London , which among other things managed the Eton College estate in Swiss Cottage, and Solitaire Property Management in Leicester , now part of Peverel.
In between he had ten years as a professional rugby player with Leicester Tigers and four seasons with Moseley, during which he worked part-time with James & Lister Lea, now part of Bruton Knowles.
Head-hunted for the CPBigwood job, he said: “We had a chat and it really appealed to me.
“I will be working with genuine property people who have a real interest in the sector. CP Bigwoods are traditional general practice Chartered Surveyors with specialist skills and drive and ambition to expand and move forward.”
Brett Williams, partner in the residential service charge department of CPBigwood, said: “Bill will be a terrific asset for us.
“He has excellent contacts among developers and I am thrilled that he has agreed to join.
“The London property scene remains both very dominant in the UK and with a major international aspect. We are looking to get a foothold there and hopefully grow the operation. We couldn’t have a better person than Bill to help us achieve this.”