New vision for post office HQ is unveiled

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FIRST images have been released showing how the interior of the former post office headquarters at West Port will look when a massive refurbishment is completed.

Work has now started on the 20 million transformation of the landmark building, on the corner of Lady Lawson Street and Lauriston Street.

Developers say Westport 102 will help extend Edinburgh's Exchange financial district as a premier business location and also help revive the West Port area.

It is the latest development by Kenmore, a property and fund management group based in Edinburgh and active in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

The building will feature 94,400 square feet of grade A office space, complete with views of Edinburgh Castle.

It is due to be completed in 2009 and will be one of the few speculative office developments to come on to the market in that year amid a forecast shortage of new office space.

It will be the latest of a string of developments in the area. Other developments nearby include the adjacent commercial buildings Evolution House, which was bought by Edinburgh College of Art, the Novotel Hotel, Quartermile, Saltire Court and New Uberior House.

Stuart Seaton, associate director at Kenmore, said: "The commencement of work is an important milestone for Westport 102 with many potential occupiers looking to such projects to help meet their requirement for high-quality space in the heart of the Scottish Capital."

Kenmore has 1.7 billion of investments and developments in the UK and across Europe.

It is continuing to expand despite the credit crunch, and it said in January that its assets under management increased by 45 per cent on the previous year.

The company also saw a ten per cent increase in net assets to 85m. It currently manages over 2300 tenants with a rental income in excess of 115m.

In September 2006, shares in the first public fund managed by Kenmore – The Kenmore European Industrial Fund Limited – commenced trading on the London Stock Exchange following an oversubscribed placing and offer for subscription, raising 140m.

Cameron Stott, director of Jones Lang LaSalle in Edinburgh, the joint letting agents with Ryden, believes that the site will help to revive the West Port area and also extend the financial community further. He said: "This area of Edinburgh has continued to improve dramatically over the past few years thanks to the spread of the city's financial Exchange District and this will complement the existing offering.

"Westport 102 will become a sought-after central location and will help address a forecast major shortage of office accommodation in Edinburgh. The building will be one of the few speculative office developments completed in the city centre in 2009."

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