Major Edinburgh office building that houses investment firm and cycle retailer changes hands

A large Edinburgh office building that is home to investment firm Blackrock has changed hands in an off-market deal, it has been confirmed.

Property advisor CBRE acted on behalf of the CBRE Investment Management UK Property PAIF fund to acquire Exchange Place One, which is located on Semple Street in the west end of the city centre. The vendor was Macquarie Asset Management.

The building comprises 114,748 square feet of office space spread over ground and five upper floors, a basement car park and one retail unit, which is home to Evans Cycles. Four floors are occupied by Blackrock, and the other occupiers include Hymans Robertson, Cundalls and Cameron Hume.

Alistair Wright, director at CBRE Scotland, who handled the purchase on behalf of CBRE Investment Management, said: “It is great news that we have managed to secure an off-market purchase of this well-known Grade A office building in a rarely available location in Edinburgh for CBRE Investment Management.

Exchange Place One is located on Semple Street in the west end of Edinburgh city centre.

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“The acquisition of Exchange Place One provides the fund with a unique opportunity to create a best-in-class office building that meets strong market demand for sustainable, central office space with large floorplates.

“The exciting plans for the asset include a comprehensive internal refurbishment with significant focus on improving the building’s ESG [environmental, social and governance] credentials that will include a full decarbonisation strategy.

“The fund will be making a substantial investment showing that despite the pandemic there continues to be strong interest for high quality assets in the right locations.”

CBRE acted for CBRE Investment Management whilst Avison Young represented Macquarie Asset Management.

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Jamie Phillips, fund manager of the CBRE UK Property PAIF at CBRE Investment Management, added: “This is a really exciting opportunity to acquire a Grade A office building in a fantastic location. Edinburgh is a vibrant city and its status as a Unesco World Heritage site places certain constraints on future commercial development within the city.

“This is in part underpinning the undersupply of Grade A stock, which is at its lowest levels for 20 years.

“Our business plan is focused on taking the building to the next level, creating a top-quality office building that gives Edinburgh’s corporate occupiers a sense of place.”

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