Finance secretary unveils Scottish commercial real estate opportunities to investors in London



Queen’s Square in Aberdeen would be transformed into a mixed-use urban quarter

Three of Scotland’s biggest commercial real estate propositions for 2018 were unveiled to investors in London today at a business breakfast hosted by Derek Mackay, cabinet secretary for finance and constitution.

The potential investments include a £137 million opportunity in Bothwell Street in Glasgow, the £150m Queen’s Square, Aberdeen proposition and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland in Renfrewshire which is seeking £250m in investment.

These opportunities were presented to a targeted audience of investors, intermediaries and leading decision makers at Scotland House, the Scottish Government’s headquarters in London.

This event is the second of its kind at Scotland House in a push by Scotland’s economic agencies - Scottish Development International, the Scottish Cities Alliance and the Scottish Property Federation - working together to pool resources and maximise results.

Finance secretary Mr Mackay said: “With more than 2,300 foreign-owned companies employing a total of 317,000 staff here and realising a combined turnover of £86 billion, foreign direct investment plays a vital role in Scotland’s economy.  A recent study reported that for every £1 spent on attracting inward investment, £9 is generated for our economy.

“Attracting inward investment is a key priority for the Scottish Government – something which assumes even more importance in light of Brexit – and is one of the aims of our Trade and Investment Strategy. The events at Scotland House, our innovation and investment hub in London, bring together senior investors, fund managers and decision makers to hear more about the benefits of investing in Scotland.”

The latest EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey (2017) highlighted that Scotland won a record number of investments from overseas in 2016, with 122 foreign direct investment deals done over the course of the year, up from 119 in 2015.  EY’s report showed for the fifth year in a row, Scotland was the second most popular part of the UK to invest in behind London.

Events such as this aim to maintain Scotland’s high ranking with the message that Scotland is a low-risk location with a variety of robust, investor ready propositions and a track record of success with international companies such as Spire, Genpact, Corporate Health and Dexcom all setting up operations here.

Neil Francis, interim managing director of Scottish Development International, said: “Much of Scotland’s success in attracting international investment comes from the strength of our connected cities and competitive business environment, and together with the Scottish Cities Alliance, we are actively engaging with target audiences in London and further afield to promote Scotland to international influencers.

“We must continue to build on the international connections that exist across many parts of our economy to attract new investment, and this event at Scotland House is a great example of how we are working closely with partners to combine our voices, networks and resources to secure economic impact for Scotland.”

The propositions on show will demonstrate the strength of Scotland’s investment opportunity across the country with the public sector agencies working closely with the private sector.

Aberdeen’s Queen’s Square project centres on the city living approach in a bid to deliver housing and re-energise the heart of the city.

Richard Sweetnam, chief officer for city growth at Aberdeen City Council, presented the city’s Queen’s Square scheme to the invite-only audience.

He said: “This is a great opportunity to showcase the major investment potential in Aberdeen directly to London-based investors as well as several international investors. We are the first Scottish city to float a bond on the stock market, we have thriving energy, digital and life science sectors and Aberdeen is soon to be Scotland’s first gigabit-speed fibre broadband city, so we have all the infrastructure in place for investors to make this their destination of choice.

“Queen’s Square offers an excellent opportunity for the right investor – with a residential-led mixed use urban quarter in the heart of Aberdeen, the project has a GDV of £150m and sits next to the new Marischal Square development which brought in £107m to Aberdeen’s economy. Events such as this, working with our partners in the Scottish Cities Alliance along with Scottish Development International, offer a fantastic opportunity to highlight the huge potential of Aberdeen.”



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