£24m Edinburgh development to combat shortage of offices

From left: George, Tim and Paul Stevenson of GSS Developments at the Semple Street site in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed
From left: George, Tim and Paul Stevenson of GSS Developments at the Semple Street site in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed
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Work has begun on a £24 million development aimed at helping address Edinburgh’s serious shortage of high-quality new office space.

The speculative development on Semple Street, in the capital’s Exchange district, will provide five floors of Grade A accommodation which could accommodate up to 350 staff.

Family-owned GSS Developments, which is behind the Bank of Scotland-backed project, believes the property will be in high demand from companies such as law firms, accountants or technology businesses.

The site was acquired last year from Aberdeen Asset Management and demolition work of the existing building is underway.

Main contractors will be appointed by the middle of April, with construction due to begin early June.

When completed, the site at 2 Semple Street will provide 35,000 square feet of office space and 11,000 sq ft of ground floor retail units.

GSS Developments director Paul Stevenson, said: “Currently there are no available new build Grade A office developments coming out of the ground in central Edinburgh.

“With a number of well-known occupier lease expiries in 2018, this delivery certainty allows us to discuss with confidence definite completion and move-in dates with occupiers.”

GSS Developments, which is based in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, currently has a property portfolio of more than £70m of assets. It has worked with Bank of Scotland on developments for almost 50 years.

Joint agents for 2 Semple Street are Chris Cuthbert of CuthbertWhite and Angela Lowe of CBRE.

Chris Cuthbert added: “2 Semple Street is a strong address and will appeal to businesses keen to be located into The Exchange area at the heart of the city’s financial sector. This is the first speculative Grade A office development to be started in Edinburgh since 2014 and the confidence in deliverability from a long-established developer will be an important factor for businesses looking to relocate, expand or upgrade their current office provision.”

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are seen as having a shortage of new Grade A office space in the pipeline.

Last week Edinburgh-based developer Whiteburn unveiled plans to turn the former Distillers’ House in Glasgow into 100,000 sq ft of new office space.

Construction work last month started on the final office building at the Quartermile regeneration scheme in Edinburgh.

The £35m six-storey building, designed by Foster & Partners, will provide almost 73,000 square feet of Grade A office space at the mixed-use scheme, on the site of the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.