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Prominent Birmingham property figure Les Balla retires

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We are saying goodbye to one of Birmingham‘s prominent commercial property figures – Les Balla!

Les is retiring from his current post as Senior Director with KWB Property & Asset Management, after 45 years in the industry.

Les’ career began in the 1970s after completing a chartered surveying course at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University). He took a trainee surveyor role at Jack Cotton Partners in Waterloo Street, founded by the legendary Birmingham property developer Jack Cotton.

In the 1990s, with business partner Duncan Smith, Les set up Smith Balla Chartered Surveyors. It specialised in all aspects of commercial property including property management, agency and acquisition, and professional services, serving a variety of clients including individuals, family trusts, charities and companies.

The Smith Balla practice merged with Bigwood in 2003 and significantly enlarged the firm’s presence in the commercial property market, with Les continuing as a general practice surveyor.

The Bigwood firm eventually merged with Curry and Partners some years later, and in 2015 the business was acquired by SDL.

Les Balla is retiring after 45 years in the industry supporting KWB's office, industrial and retail clients.

Les started at KWB in 2018 in a commercial property management role, to help office, industrial and retail clients maximise the value of property assets and retain tenants, through activities such as re-gearing of leases, high quality facilities management, appealing business rates, and arranging valuations.

Les said: “I’ve had a brilliant career and the 1980s were particularly great – it was the golden age of property. I really enjoyed the thrill of closing deals, with one of the most memorable being the letting of the whole of 63 Temple Row to a number of high profile tenants.

“To have topped off my career working with the highly experienced team at KWB has been brilliant, and I would like to thank John Bryce and Mark Lenton for being so welcoming and giving me that opportunity.”

John Bryce, Director at KWB, added: “Les is regarded as one of Birmingham’s most experienced commercial property managing agents and he has really enhanced our offering. He has been a real asset to the team, with a mixture of a calm influence and a weight of experience, and we hope he has a fabulous retirement.”

Martin Cook

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