Flexible workspace provider Tartan Commercial acquires second business hub
Tartan Commercial, the company behind the highly successful The Lighthouse business centre in North Berwick, has expanded its portfolio by acquiring the Falkirk Business Hub.
The £1.925 million acquisition from Bellair Scotland will see Tartan Commercial retain all the employees at the hub as they carve out their position as one of Scotland’s largest independent business centre and flexible workspace companies.
Founding director, Andy Hadden, who is also the brainchild behind the £40m development of Scotland’s first artificial surf park, Wavegarden Scotland on the outskirts of the capital, recognised the opportunity for flexible working practices in rural and commuting locations several years ago. Hadden developed The Lighthouse business centre, which now has over 35 tenant companies, covering a diverse range of sectors.
The Falkirk Business Hub is also home to more than 35 tenant companies and 150 people, ranging from corporate companies, to solopreneurs. The former Falkirk General Post Office building was completely modernised in 2013 and the four-storey landmark building provides a variety of coworking and virtual office space, meeting rooms and rentable offices together with a café and a fitness and wellness centre onsite.
Managing director Nick Watson joined Tartan Commercial at the beginning of 2020 to drive the company’s expansion. The part-owner of the business has gained extensive knowledge of the property market for over 20 years. A former director of Rettie & Co, who still retains close ties to that business through a consultancy role, Watson has driven the Falkirk acquisition and is in the process of acquiring further sites and opportunities across Scotland.
Commenting on the deal, Nick Watson said: “We are delighted to complete this acquisition, situated right in the heart of Falkirk. The trend towards workplace mobility wasn’t created as a result of the pandemic but it has certainly accelerated it. We believe that the future will see a combination of flexible practices which includes working from home, hubs such as North Berwick and Falkirk, as well as larger city headquarters.
“Since September this year, we have seen a sharp increase in enquiries compared to the beginning of the year, clearly reflecting the changes to work practices. The tenant mix we are seeing includes corporate occupiers looking for regional hub space as well as independent local businesses.”
Tartan Commercial director Andy Hadden added: “Our mission is to transform towns and create self-sufficient micro-economies outside major cities. This approach and impact have been highlighted with our work in North Berwick, and Bellair have done a wonderful job in Falkirk, hence our appetite to acquire.
“This strategy means we employ more patient capital, with a view to owning all sites and buildings freehold, but then developing and nurturing them as you would a hotel. To us, the mechanics might be property, but this is 100% the hospitality industry, where goodwill from tenants who can ultimately leave on short notice is a key metric for sustainable, lucrative business.
“We’ve had various tempting offers to grow rapidly across multiple sites using a leasing model, but our intention is to leave a legacy everywhere we go, and to achieve that we look at our business planning in 5-to-10-year cycles, rather than a 1-to-2-year view.”
Prydis Consulting lined up the debt element of the acquisition and were instrumental in facilitating the deal.
Director Nick Cross said: “Despite the current climate we were able to assist Tartan Commercial Ltd with the funding to acquire the Falkirk Business Hub during a very challenging time. As an independent broker with access to a large number of lenders, we were able to secure the required level of funding at a very competitive rate, allowing them to continue their exciting growth plans. We look forward to working with Tartan Commercial in the future.”