Commercial property: More exposure for latest trend in office space

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One Lochrin Square in Edinburgh, an office building “defurbished” specifically for the city’s growing tech and entrepreneurial community, is now completely let after Spaces, the co-working hub, increased its footprint on site.

The trend for defurbishment – which sees traditional office interiors replaced with open-plan spaces, featuring exposed brickwork, pipework and services – is particularly attractive to tech companies, according to Craig Watson, office agency director at JLL in the Capital.

Spaces has taken a further 15,610sq ft of office space at the development in Edinburgh’s Exchange District, adding to its initial 29,707sq ft of space it took earlier this year.

The building’s other tenant, Trip.com, the Chinese owner of Edinburgh-based Skyscanner, took 12,000sq ft on the building’s first floor in late 2017 and has just acquired an additional 3,277sq ft.

Located in Fountainbridge, One Lochrin Square was relaunched by UBS Asset Management on behalf of investors in March 2017 following major work.

UBS took the decision to include defurbished space on the ground floor giving it a stripped back, loft-style feel, instead of the more traditional lowered ceilings and carpet tiles usually found in offices.

Watson believes there are a few distinct advantages to a defurbished look. He says: “It does give a greater floor-to-ceiling height, giving a much enhanced feeling of light and space, which is particularly useful at ground-floor level, which doesn’t necessarily get as much direct daylight as the upper floors of a building.”

He adds that the urban- industrial finish is becoming more sought-after, particularly by tech companies looking for a more modern environment for their staff.

“We are involved in two speculative refits at the moment that are providing defurbished space to the market. Orchard Brae House is a building with a limited floor-to-ceiling height, so the removal of suspended ceilings greatly enhances it. The revealed concrete soffit is a really interesting finish.

“The other, at Quartermile, is a ground-floor former restaurant unit which we are refurbishing for UBS, the owners of Lochrin, so they are following up with the same idea.”

Watson observes that while the urban look has so far been championed by tech and creative firms, others are beginning to follow suit – at least for some parts of their working area. He says: “More traditional companies may not feature the look throughout the office, but will implement it in certain areas to give a different feel, such as a kitchen or a canteen, to make it a more social space.”