A COLLECTION of 19 listed Georgian properties in Edinburgh’s historic Charlotte Square will not be put up for sale by its owners when refurbishment is complete, in a reversal of conventional property investment strategy before the 2008 crash.
The Charlotte Square Collection will be managed in a similar way to aristrocrat-owned squares in London, such as Eaton Square in Belgravia, owned by the Duke of Buccleuch, and Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, owned by the family of the Duke of Bedford.
Nick Ball of Corram Properties, which manages the properties on behalf of investors who own the portfolio through an offshore investment firm, Fordell Estates, says the owners have chosen “estate management” over pre-property crash style real estate development.
This means the developer will not have a set rent for potential tenants of its newly-refurbished offices as the redevelopment of Wemyss House nears completion and Fordell Estates awaits Scottish Government ministers giving the green light on public realm works which will extend pedestrian access.
Ball said: “We don’t have quoting terms – they are bespoke for each potential occupant.
“We can do more than traditional institutional investors or landlords to create the right package because we aren’t selling it.”
Two of the newly refurbished properties have been let. Scoban, the start up private bank has taken number 9, which was sold to Fordell Estates’ investors by former Rangers Football Club owner Sir David Murray.
In October, wealth adviser Cornelian Asset Managers will move into number 30 from a neighbouring property which is also owned by Fordell.
Ball has signalled that another occupier is in legal discussions to take an office in the part of the square formerly owned by the National Trust.
Fordell acquired 26-31 Charlotte Square from the conservation body for £8.8 million in 2009.
The refurbishment of the six townhouses is due to be complete next month, including the former Wemyss House which has a covered atrium extending to a new-build office off Hope Lane.
Plans to refurbish the public realm around the garden, which includes a change to traffic flow through the square, have received planning consent from Edinburgh Council. The plan has been delayed because of a referral to Scottish ministers.
“What has been acquired around the square is for long term ownership.
“It is not a project in a traditional property development sense – it is estate creation and estate management. It is an ongoing exercise,” Ball said.