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The Insider Property Awards

Published on July 5th 2004.

The Palace Hotel, it seems, has only one good reason to host a prestigious awards ceremony - the fact that it can hold 718 people in its dour banqueting suite. Maybe others are excellent presentation facilities.
Food and service are not good reasons to be there.
As a guest of David Partridge, one of the gaffers of Argent Group, I have been wondering whether it’s polite to comment. But given the fact that the room was full to bursting with the great and good of the property world in the North West (all big hitters when it comes to keeping the tills of Manchester’s world class restaurants ringing) I was astounded at the third world quality of food and service delivered by The ‘Palace’.
The room was packed, the temperature nudging what seemed a hundred degrees and everyone in the room had jackets off, fanning themselves furiously with menus. Food? The salmon terrine was tasteless, slouching on wilted, sweating greens; each accompanied by a lonely, naked and clearly embarrassed cherry tomato rasping: “Eat me for god’s sake, I can’t stand it any more…” The fillet steak was tough - where on earth can you get a reliable supply of tough fillet steak? The chef must have worked hard on that one. Tasteless, I expect. In training to become a baseball? Nope.
The hard work and otherwise polished professionalism of The Insider Property magazine team does not deserve the severely inadequate Palace Hotel banqueting team.
Enough of being negative. The awards themselves were a celebration of the North West’s vibrant property sector, particularly commercial, a good measure of the general health of our region. From what I saw, we are as fit as butcher’s dogs. Keep up the good work guys, and spread that wealth around! Go out and spend plenty. It will bring good karma all round.
To the left of our table, the pill popping (totally legal RU-21 anti hangover tablets, I swiftly add) Bruntwood team were in good form. Head Honcho Chris Ogelsby reaching for his wallet, Pavlovian style, as Gordo approached. It’s ok Chris, you can pay me later! Bruntwood marketing guru Simon Scott was resplendent in tartan trousers and a very nice soft velvet coat of many buttons. I hope you didn’t walk home through the gay quarter Simon; you wouldn’t have stood a chance! Well done Bruntwood, mind. Two awards no less - property deal of the year, the team bought Piccadilly Plaza in three weeks flat for sixty million fat ones. You lads must have a better lawyer than the lunatic I used to buy my last gaff, who spent four months sliding in and out of a coma ‘closing’ that sale. I bet his fridge never gets down to the right temperature; he can’t even close that one.
A few moments later another, Best Commercial Development of the Year. Chris, those pills are definitely working.
Behind our table, Tom Bloxham and Urban Splash. Creative Land Development Award first, and Property Personality of the Year second, nice two. Tom, good to see you still coming up and personally picking the awards, given the number that you are winning these days.
Back to our table. Young Mr. Partridge had assembled a team to make Manchester tremble. Meredith Thomas had it’s A-Team deployed, headed up by the formidable Helen. Maureen and Louisa were grappling bottles of Chablis to the floor. Clive ‘The Pint’ Bartlam well on form, backed up by Steve Alderson, eyes going round like organ stops. Angela; if you get off with that Sky cameraman, make sure you get me an introduction to Adrienne Lawler, how good was she?! Worth paying the Sky subs on her own, that bird. And Helen; aaaw, bless, what a sweetie. Mr. Black ‘n White OBE (Roger Stephenson OBE of Stephenson Bell) was with his partner, another dead fit bit of totty, Margaret Nuttall. By ‘eck, you looked well. Last but by no means least, uber agent Andrea Stott of GVA Grimley on my left, explaining that the chocolate tube centre piece of the petit fours was actually a sex aid...class girl, class..
This motley crew were good drinking company and an A list act. But not just pretty faces I may tell you. The Argent posse got Best Regeneration Award for Piccadilly, more of which will be covered in a Mark Garner groveling piece later in the month. Roger Stephenson OBE picked up best architect a couple of minutes later for Bell Stephenson, and then that little ball of dynamite Andrea Stott staggered on stage for Best Agent! Wow, we were amongst stars!
Well done to everyone. Thank you David for the invite and sorry I had to leave early to make the plane. For the full results click here
Mark Garner

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