Commercial property: Civil service hubs take shape in Edinburgh and Glasgow

Atlantic Square in Glasgow.
Atlantic Square in Glasgow.

Two Scottish projects to house government workers in buildings fit for the digital age each reached a significant milestone in their build this week.

The modernisation of the UK’s tax and revenue collection centres is a ten-year project, which involves moving 58,000 employees spread across 170 offices around the UK to 13 large, modern regional centres, including one each in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

New Waverley in Edinburgh at its topping out.

New Waverley in Edinburgh at its topping out.

Many of the older HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) offices dated from the 1960s and 1970s and ranged in size from those employing 6,000 people to those with less than ten.

The state-of-the-art buildings taking shape will allow greater investment in infrastructure, skills training, online services, data analytics and compliance.

Bringing staff together in large centres will also enable employees to develop careers up to senior levels, without the need to move around the country.

The centres will also support the growth of specialist teams and links with universities and other sources of skilled recruits.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Atlantic Square in Glasgow last week to mark the progress of construction work which is now well underway.

In the heart of the financial services district and close to the Clyde waterfront, the ten-storey building features 187,205sq ft of office space which will be leased by HMRC for a minimum of 20 years.

it will accommodate 2,700 employees by the end of 2021.

A joint venture between BAM Properties and TCP Developments, forward funding for HMRC’s building has been provided by Legal & General on behalf of Legal & General Retirement which invests in high-quality, long-term UK assets.

The building, which will feature the retained facade of A-listed former warehouses built by pioneering retailer William Whitley in the mid 19th century, will be designed by BAM Design and built by BAM Construction.

The pre-letting of Building 1 at Atlantic Square has enabled the developers to speculatively build and fund Building 2, which will be ready for occupation in the autumn of 2020.

Meanwhile, the government hub planned for New Waverley in Edinburgh’s Old Town has reached its own significant milestone with the official topping out of the office scheme which is set to be home to nearly 3,000 government workers.

The seven-level development of two interlinked office buildings providing almost 200,000sq ft of ultra-modern grade A office space, has now reached its highest point.

About 2,900 civil service jobs will be relocated to the Edinburgh site by 2020 under the terms of a 25-year lease.

The buildings will house another of the 13 regional HMRC centres but will also function as the Scottish base of several government bodies, including the Scottish Secretary, Advocate General, the Competition & Markets Authority, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Actuary’s Department and HM Treasury.

Staff from the Health & Safety Executive and the Information Commissioner’s Office will also be based there.

The building, developed by Artisan Real Estate Investors, will offer high levels of sustainability and operational efficiency, and added staff amenities including a landscaped roof area providing views across the Waverley valley.