Work to start at high-end Ed­in­burgh of­fice project amid ‘strong’ de­mand

● Eight-floor Cap­i­tal Square site hop­ing to ad­dress city’s lack of suit­able prop­erty

The Scotsman - - Business - By EMMA NEWLANDS

The but­ton has been pressed on Ed­in­burgh’s largest cur­rent spec­u­la­tive of­fice de­vel­op­ment, ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to 1,400 peo­ple, in the city’s Ex­change busi­ness district.

BAM Prop­er­ties in part­ner­ship with Her­mes In­vest­ment Man­age­ment is set to de­velop Cap­i­tal Square, a high-end 122,000 square foot, eight­floor pur­pose-built of­fice de­vel­op­ment with an un­der­ground car park, and lo­cated between Mor­ri­son Street and Loth­ian Road, near the Sher­a­ton Grand Ho­tel & Spa and of­fice build­ing Atria One – home to or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Green In­vest­ment Bank and PWC.

BAM Construction has been ap­pointed to build the de­vel­op­ment, with work due to start this month and the de­vel­op­ment ex­pected to be ready for oc­cu­pancy in early 2020.

Her­mes In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Parli­son Prop­er­ties, se­cured plan­ning ap­proval for the ven­ture in 2015 and the lat­ter firm will con­tinue as de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tant to the project.

De­signed by ar­chi­tects Hurd Rol­land, the build­ing will in­clude a dou­ble-height re­cep­tion with a “state­ment” atrium, and a court­yard en­trance, set in a pri­vate south-fac­ing land­scaped gar­den, while the prop­erty will also have rooftop ter­races. The grade A de­vel­op­ment will also meet the “high­est” en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, BAM Prop­er­ties said.

The firm’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dougie Peters said it be­lieves the mar­ket is cur­rently ready for in­vest­ment. “We be­lieve now is the time. We are con­fi­dent in the Ed­in­burgh of­fice mar­ket and the Ed­in­burgh econ­omy gen­er­ally. The city con­tin­ues to suf­fer from a lack of Grade A sup­ply with strong de­mand from oc­cu­piers for new space.”

He also said the de­vel­op­ment “will pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive edge as Ed­in­burgh lacks high-cal­i­bre de­vel­op­ments of this scale ca­pa­ble of at­tract­ing blue-chip oc­cu­piers”.

It comes af­ter com­mer­cial prop­erty con­sul­tancy JLL Scot­land ear­lier this week fore­cast that Ed­in­burgh’s of­fice mar­ket was set for a record-break­ing year, with well over a mil­lion square feet of space set to be taken up by com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The city’s strong ap­peal to global firms has seen de­mand for grade A com­mer­cial prop­erty soar, and suit­able sup­ply dwin­dle.

Chris Tay­lor, head of pri­vate mar­kets at £30.1 bil­lion man­ager Her­mes In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, said Cap­i­tal Square “of­fers an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion as it meets on­go­ing strong oc­cu­pier de­mand for high­qual­ity, cen­tral of­fice space close to key trans­port con­nec­tions and ameni­ties”.

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