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Epic to renegotiate lease

FLYING in the face of their uncertain future, Epic Energy has appointed commercial agent Knight Frank to renegotiate the company’s new lease contract in its current digs in the GHD House on Adelaide Terrace.

Epic Energy is expecting state regulator Ken Michael to hand down a final tariff determination on its Dampier-to-Bunbury pipeline this week. An unfavourable ruling could lead to US investors exiting their investment in Epic Energy, casting a shade of uncertainty over the company’s future.

Despite this, the company, following in the path of BHP Billiton, has supported Knight Frank’s expansion into representation services for tenant clients. Earlier in the year, Knight Frank made waves in the property industry when it was appointed to coordinate BHP Billiton’s search for 7000 sqm of office space in the city. Knight Frank’s method of searching sparked an outcry from building owners, commercial agents and tenant advocates who complained that the arrangement was a conflict of interest.

It is understood that the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia received complaints about Knight Frank’s move, which included attaching a leasing authority form, complete with fee details, to invitations for expressions of interest.

Some in the property industry questioned whether a commercial agent could fairly represent a tenant client while the agent also represented numerous buildings in the city.

While the foray of commercial agents into tenant representation in other States is not unknown, Knight Frank is thought to be first commercial agent in the Perth market to venture into the field.

Epic Energy chief financial officer Brad Farrington said the company had asked Knight Frank to renegotiate their current lease deal, which expires in December.

He said Epic Energy had not asked the agency to search for alternative premises.

“That is not to say that we are not looking at alternative premises, we are exploring our options,” Mr Farrington said.

 He said the decision to ask Knight Frank to renegotiate their current lease had occurred because there was not the required experience within Epic Energy to broker a lease deal.

“Provided they are not working both sides we expect that we will get the best deal.”

While Epic Energy was examining the option of remaining in their current premises in GHD House on Adelaide Terrace, Mr Farrington said over the last three to four months he had several lease proposals for new and existing commercial space.

“There seems to be plenty of supply of space in the market, but not all of it meets what we want,” he said.

“There is plenty of time until December to make a decision.”

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