Consent granted for mixed-use quarter in central Glasgow

Planning permission has been granted for a new mixed-use quarter including 400 new homes in central Glasgow.

The masterplan for Central Quay, a seven-acre site on the western edge of Glasgow city centre, also includes over 300,000 sq. ft. of offices, a 150-bed hotel, food and retail units and an extensive public realm.

Central Quay is prominent from the Kingston Bridge and has been a brownfield site for several years. It is bounded by Anderston Station and the river Clyde and is owned and managed by Harbert Management Corporation (Europe) LLC and XLB Property. Both are advised by GVA and CBRE and the masterplan was designed by architects Keppie Design.

Tony Lawson of XLB said: “Central Quay is a significant site and its regeneration is long overdue. It will now provide a major new mixed-use quarter to the western edge of Glasgow City Centre close to the SSE Hydro, Scottish Exhibition Centre and major transport hubs.

“The masterplan is designed around a vibrant high-quality environment, providing new homes and offices plus supporting amenities. Harbert Management Corporation (Europe) LLC and XLB Property are in discussions with a major PRS developer to ‘pump prime’ the waterfront site. The first phase of development is expected to commence towards the end of 2018.”

Due to Central Quay’s location on the periphery of Glasgow city centre, the Grade-A office space will be available to pre-let at significantly less than city centre rents, which are now in excess of £30.00 per sq. ft. and reliant on refurbished stock with little speculative development in the pipeline and no new Grade A space with large floor plates anticipated in the city centre until 2021.

As well as the Central Quay masterplan, there is presently 30,000 sq. ft. of office space for rent at the adjacent 2 Central Quay.

City House office block set to disappear from Dundee’s skyline

Overgate_Centre_entrance_and_City_House_DundeeProperty services company CBRE has submitted plans to Dundee City Council to demolish a 1960s office block above the Overgate shopping centre and replace it with a new roof covering.

Under the plans, some of the Overgate’s upper mall units would be reconfigured to create a new management suite and a click and collect facility for online shopping.

Samantha Jackson, senior planner on the project, said the block was of “limited architectural merit” — and that its demolition would improve the city’s visual appeal.

In documents lodged with the council, she said: “The demolition of City House provides an opportunity to remove an ageing building of limited architectural interest and enhance the appearance of the Overgate centre and the wider city centre.

“It is considered that its demolition will significantly improve the city skyline.

“This proposal contributes to the continued improvement of Dundee city centre and its role as an attractive place to be, through the removal of a building which continues to deteriorate.”

City House was built in the 1960s as part of the original Overgate centre development. However, much of the 10-storey block’s office space has not been used for some time.

Levels three and four of the block will be retained above the shopping centre, which will remain open during the demolition work.

These areas, and parts of the Overgate’s upper mall, will feature a new management suite and meeting room facility.

The click and collect facility will include a new information and customer service desk, as well as an Amazon parcel delivery locker.

Image courtesy of Laerol CC BY-SA 4.0

Balfour Beatty to sell its US professional services business for £42m

heery-internationalBalfour Beatty has reached an agreement to sell its US professional services business Heery International to a subsidiary of CBRE Group.

The transaction, which is subject to certain contractual consents, is expected to complete before year end for a total cash consideration of $57 million (c.£42m), subject to working capital and debt adjustments.

For the year ended 31 December 2016, Heery’s gross assets were £78.2m, net assets were £21.5m and profit before tax was £2.4m. Balfour Beatty said the transaction “will release funds to be used in the normal course of business”.

Balfour Beatty acquired a 50% interest in Heery in 1986, which it increased to 100% in 1990.  In certain US markets, however, acting as programme manager on a contract precludes a company from bidding as general contractor due to perceived conflicts of interest.

The sale of Heery removes this constraint from the group’s US buildings operation, while enabling it to partner with Heery on a wide range of potential projects going forward.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty group chief executive, said: “We continue to focus and strengthen the Group in our chosen markets. This transaction is another example of maximising shareholder value at the appropriate time and value, while improving our strategic position. We look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with CBRE.”

Plans lodged to demolish and redevelop front of St Enoch Centre

St Enoch Centre externalPart of the St Enoch Centre is to be knocked down to make way for new retail outlets under plans submitted to Glasgow City Council.

Mall operator Sovereign Centros wants to demolish “most” of the buildings at 135 to 153 Argyle Street and replace them with a new “high-quality flagship retail development”.

The latest proposals follow plans to add a nine-screen VUE cinema at the centre and revamp the existing food court.

St-Enoch-cinema-CGIIn its planning statement, commercial property consultant CBRE said that three operators were at an “advanced stage of discussions” about taking up space in the new units which have been designed by architects at Benoy.

It added: “The development proposes a sensitive restoration of the historic façade of the former St Enoch Picture House and secures its retention for the future in a use appropriate to the location for flagship retail users.

“The proposal to reconfigure the Argyle Street frontage of the St Enoch Centre is proposed with a view to improve the retail offer to this part of the city, and strengthening the role of the St Enoch Centre as well as Glasgow city centre itself.”

Paul Bailey, asset management director at Sovereign Centros, added: “The recent application to enhance holdings on Argyle Street forms a significant part of our ongoing business plan to provide bestin-class accommodation for our retailers and an enhanced customer experience.”

If the plans are approved, the new outlets are expected to open in 2019.

Location confirmed for new Inverurie trampoline park

CBRE associate director Iain Landsman

CBRE associate director Iain Landsman

The first trampoline park in Aberdeenshire has bounced into action after property consultancy CBRE secured premises at Highclere Business Park in Inverurie.

Skyline Trampoline Park has taken a 10 year lease on the 30,421 sq ft warehouse, which is located off Blackhall Road, and will deliver the first facility of its kind to open in the region after planning permission was granted by Aberdeenshire Council.

In addition to a trampoline arena, the centre features a cafe area and party rooms, a dodge ball court, battle beams, foam pits, tumble tracks, an open jump area, traverse wall, hang tough rings, and interactive light walls.

The new venture is expected to bring around 50 new jobs to the area once fully established.

Mr Landsman with Skyline Trampoline Park's Julie Mackenzie

Mr Landsman with Skyline Trampoline Park’s Julie Mackenzie

Iain Landsman, associate director at CBRE in Aberdeen, said: “In recent years, trampoline parks have become increasingly popular throughout the UK and we’re thrilled to have been involved in bringing the first one to the Shire. It is a unique use of industrial space in an accessible area. With a dampening in demand from the energy sector it represents an opportunity for landlords to look at alternative uses and diversify their tenant mix in buildings they hold in their portfolio.”

Julie Mackenzie of Skyline Trampoline Park added: “We’re very excited to have to opened Aberdeenshire’s first trampoline park after CBRE helped secure the perfect premises for our vision. The feedback we have received from customers so far is so positive and with over 10,000 likes on our Facebook page and over 8,000 visitors since opening last month, it’s great that the centre has been well received by people from the local area and beyond.

“Our aim from the start has been to create a destination for the north east community where people can come have fun while also getting fit.”

Development opportunity for over 800 homes at former West Lothian hospital site

Bangour 2The site of a former West Lothian psychiatric hospital which could become the site of hundreds of new homes after being brought to the market for sale.

Extending to 87 hectares (215 acres), the former Bangour Village hospital in Dechmont provides the potential for up to 800 new build homes and the conversion of existing buildings to form a further 91 residential units, subject to planning permission.

The hospital was built by architect Hippolyte Blanc in the early 1900s as the Edinburgh District Asylum and was designed as a self-contained community supported by its own amenities which included a village shop, church and railway. The use of the hospital diminished upon the opening of the local St John’s Hospital in Livingston in 1989, eventually closing completely in 2004.

Comprising open space, mature woodland and derelict buildings, the site was designated as a Conservation Area in 1993. It is bounded by open farmland to the north, east and west, and the village of Dechmont to the south west. It is zoned in the adopted West Lothian Council LDP for 500 homes and in the Proposed LDP (October 2015) for 550.

There are 15 listed buildings on site (two A-listed, three B-listed and ten C-listed) together with 30 non-listed buildings. All of the buildings on site are unoccupied.

Bangour 1In August 2015 an application for Planning Permission in Principle for a residential and mixed-use development was submitted to West Lothian Council along with applications for the demolition of listed and non-listed buildings. The masterplan proposes 891 residential units; a new primary school on site and circa 1,000 sq m of ancillary use. A total of 134 units (15% of the completed units based on 891 residential units) are to be affordable housing.

A decision on planning is expected in summer 2017.

The Scottish Futures Trust has been working with NHS Lothian to develop and deliver a strategy for the sale of the site with a focus on working up a commercially viable plan informed by stakeholder engagement.

Stewart Taylor, senior director at property consultants CBRE, which has been instructed to sell the development, said:  “We are delighted to bring this unique development site to the market for sale.  Bangour Village hospital offers an exceptional opportunity to acquire a significant site in the heart of Scotland’s central belt on the M8 corridor that is suitable for a variety of uses. Considerable work has been done by the vendor and their consultants to prepare the site for sale. We are confident there will be strong interest in the site and it’s likely a closing date will be set in early course.”

Justin Lamb, director at Justin Lamb Associates, added:  “Bangour is probably the best opportunity in Scotland to deliver a new village within an existing mature landscape setting, with refurbished listed buildings and a new primary school on site; providing the ideal setting for professionals and families of all ages.  It also includes excellent commuter links to the major employment centres of Livingston, Edinburgh and Glasgow with relative ease.”

CBRE expands National Building Consultancy team with new appointment

Ian Plender, Amie Owen and Roddy Morrison from CBRE

(from left) Ian Plender, Amie Owen and Roddy Morrison from CBRE

Property consultancy CBRE has announced the appointment of Ian Plender to its National Building Consultancy team.

Based in the firm’s Aberdeen office, Ian brings over ten years’ experience to the role following a stint in Knight Frank’s Building team. His new role with CBRE will see him covering all aspects of Building Consultancy such as acquisition surveys, dilapidations, project management and design for CBRE’s extensive range of local, national and international clients.

In 2015 CBRE re-established its National Building Consultancy team in Aberdeen following the appointment of Roddy Morrison, director and the head of the Building Consultancy team in Aberdeen. Since his appointment, Roddy has been focusing on developing the team to bolster its reputation as a market leading service.

In the past two years the team has been involved in over £50 million worth of project management and development monitoring instructions and has undertaken building surveys and dilapidation services on numerous properties across the retail, office, industrial and hotel sectors.  Its client base is predominately global oil and gas companies, pension funds and local and national property developers.

Roddy Morrison said: “This is an exciting time for the expanding Building team at CBRE; Ian’s appointment enables us to add capacity to the team to strengthen our offering to clients.

“We are confident Ian will prosper in his new role, implementing his expertise to handle clients on both a local and global platform. His knowledge and experience will prove invaluable as we develop the team and build on recent successes.”

Ian Plender added: “I am thrilled to be joining CBRE. It is a privilege to be furthering my career with the world’s largest property advisor. CBRE’s Building Consultancy team prides itself on offering strong technical expertise to a large and diverse client base so I hope to be a positive asset to the already skilled team.”

Sir Robert McAlpine wins £65m Aberdeen Silver Fin office contract

The-Silver-Fin-1Construction work for the £65 million Silver Fin project in Aberdeen is to start “imminently” after the award of the contract to Sir Robert McAlpine.

The 132,000 sq ft Union Street development will include a new Scottish granite façade onto Union Street and a glass and granite tower element featuring views across the city.

The “Silver Fin” branding relates to a number of vertical aluminium fins, which will clad all elevations of the tower element to catch the light for all to see and instantly recognise.

It’s the latest step in moves to transform the appearance of Aberdeen’s main throughfare.

Demolition of the site began in late 2014, with the project and the building due for completion in March 2017.

The building will be 13 storeys high, with four car parking floors and nine occupied floors and will sit alongside the new Capitol office development.

At ground floor level, the Silver Fin Building will offer a business lounge – designed for informal meeting facilities for occupiers and guests – and a four-storey atrium within the building’s reception area. The development will also offer 140 secure underground car parking spaces, 19 motorcycle spaces and 56 cycle spaces.

FG Burnett and CBRE, who act on behalf of the developer Titan Investors, believe the project will provide state-of-the-art office space in Aberdeen.

Jonathan Nesbitt, director at FG Burnett Aberdeen said: “This is a hugely exciting development for the city.

“It is a testament to the inherent strength of the Aberdeen market that such a level of institutional investment has been committed.

“We are delighted that building work is about to begin on site and that, so far, each planned phase of the project has been on track.

“The Silver Fin Building is set to re-invigorate the city’s West End and is the most high profile commercial development in Aberdeen.”

CBRE Aberdeen managing director, Derren McRae, added: “Not only will The Silver Fin Building change the face of the west end of Union Street and is set to be the city’s finest office building, but is also expected to stimulate increased investment in retail, restaurant and hospitality sectors in the vicinity of the development.”

Scottish commercial property returns rise 5 per cent

CBREAnnual total return on Scottish Commercial property rose 5.1 per cent during 2014.

Figures released in CBRE’s latest Scotland Property Quarterly report also revealed that despite progressive improvement during the first three quarters of last year, returns for the final quarter fell back a little.

The annual total return to the end of December 2014 was 12.4 per cent, down from 12.9 per cent at the end of Q3, however this is still well ahead on the annual return in 2013 of 7.3 per cent.

The minor reduction in returns in the final quarter appears largely due to a slight easing of capital growth across all Scottish real estate sectors.

In contrast, rental growth remained stable during the quarter and resulted in modest but positive growth during the year as a whole, the first time this has been achieved since 2008.

The report from the leading property consultant also highlights that the strongest performing sector in Scotland continues to be industrials, with a total return in Q4 of 4.2 per cent and an annual return for 2014 of 17.9 per cent.

This is also the sixth successive quarter of capital growth for the sector. In comparison, offices returned 11.6 per cent for the full year with retail at 10.6 per cent.

The fourth quarter of 2014 saw further reordering in the relative performance of different cities and sectors across Scotland.  The biggest changes have been in Aberdeen, where annual total returns are down by around four percentage points for both offices and industrial.

For now, however, Aberdeen offices continue to outperform the All Property total return.  Despite this, returns are likely to fall further due to the low oil price hitting what had been a very active occupier market.

Industrials led the way at a city level, with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen posting returns for 2014 of close to 18 per cent.

Both the Edinburgh and Glasgow office markets posted positive returns in 2014 with Edinburgh now the best performing office market in Scotland.  Retail remains the perennial underperforming sector, with only the market in Aberdeen posting above average returns at 15 per cent.

Following the ‘No’ outcome of the Scottish Referendum, the investment market in Scotland enjoyed a strong final quarter, pushing total investment sales for the year to £3.04 billion.  A plethora of shopping centre sales accounted for almost £1bn of that figure.  In addition sales of both offices (£867 million) and industrials (£413m) were well ahead of the totals achieved over the past few years.

Aileen Knox, senior director from CBRE, commented on the report: “It is heartening to see investment activity for the full year exceeding the totals for 2013 and investment in Scottish property in 2014 is the highest it has been since 2007. It is also interesting to note there is little, if any, evidence of September’s independence referendum within the data for this year; a timely reminder ahead of May’s UK General Election that political events can have minimal market impacts.”

Edinburgh fits the bill as Europe’s property investors seek alternatives

Miller Mathieson

Miller Mathieson

Property experts have listed Edinburgh in the top three of European cities to invest in.

Analysis from property consultancy CBRE cited Scotland as being in prime position to benefit from London’s overheating property market and a lack of supply in large prime property markets together with rapid re-pricing in recovering markets, such as Spain.

The news follows a new map of major developments in the centre of Edinburgh by GVA James Barr which revealed the city is a hotbed of activity on the property scene.

CBRE said investors are looking to mid-size European cities for value and Edinburgh with its growing employment, stable economy and established office markets is an attractive proposition.

Glasgow is well primed following redevelopment ahead of the Commonwealth Games, while Aberdeen is pushing ahead thanks to its oil-fuelled boom and Dundee is also moving forward with ambitious Waterfront proposals that will reshape the city.

Miller Mathieson, managing director of CBRE in Scotland, said: “Investors already consider Edinburgh a popular place to invest and this looks set to continue.”

Hugh Rutherford, the chairman of the Edinburgh Business Forum and managing partner of property firm Montagu Evans, said: “In terms of timing, the recession hit Scotland at a time of significant development; funding just dried up. But investors out of London are now once again looking at value of money and Scotland is primed to ­capitalise.

“There are definite green shoots of recovery. Development in Edinburgh is picking up while in Glasgow the Commonwealth Games and the subsidies that brought have allowed developers to build.”

Meanwhile a report from GVA James Barr has revealed that the number of developments under construction in Edinburgh has trebled since 2011.

Keith Aitken, head of the Edinburgh office of consultants GVA James Barr, pinpointed the Quartermile development at the site of the old Royal Infirmary, the Atria next to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Morrison Street, and student developments at Fountainbridge as among the most significant.

He said there were clusters of activity across the city centre, including St James Quarter and Haymarket but he also highlighted the major Caltongate project, now renamed New Waverley, in the heart of the Old Town. Demolition recently began in East Market Street to make way for two hotels as part of the £150m development, which also includes offices, shops, a new public square and 180 homes.

Mr Aitken said the trams would eventually give a boost to development both at Haymarket and the East End.

He said: “The most notable addition to Edinburgh has been the much-maligned tram network leading from York Place to the airport. This is now fully operational and in June and July attracted 90,000 customers per week.

“In time, we believe the tram will benefit development at Haymarket and in the East End of the city around St Andrew Square.”

But he said large-scale development activity along Princes Street and within the “golden rectangle” – bounded by Charlotte Square, St Andrew Square, Princes Street and Queen Street – had been very limited since 2011.

Predicting a recovery in the office market, Mr Aitken said: “The fact hotels and serviced apartments have been able to compete with offices is interesting, but as the office market improves and catches up with the other UK centres of Manchester and Birmingham, we will see offices start to outperform theses uses.”

He said 11 of the consented or proposed schemes included office space. “This is slightly lower than anticipated and only three of these schemes are actually on-site – 3-8 St Andrew Square, Quartermile 4 and The Haymarket.”

Further office development was required to satisfy demand, he added. “We foresee this taking place at Fountain South, New Waverley and through further office development at Quartermile.”

Mr Aitken said student accommodation has been the most active sector with nine projects either completed, under construction or with planning consent extending to approximately 3700 new beds to accommodate city students.

Meanwhile, the retail sector was dominated by the St James Quarter plans, where TIAA Henderson Real Estate is proposing to start on site in March.

Mr Aitken said: “This is a major four-year project and will transform the retail scene in Edinburgh. A pre-letting campaign is now under way and together with the new Apple store [in Princes Street], will serve to swing the prime pitch in retail towards the East End of the city centre.”