Developer insists big names are lined up for Maxim office park

THE developer behind Maxim, the UK's largest speculative office development, has revealed that it is close to luring a number of substantial blue chip companies to the site.

Andrew Lapping, a director of TAL CPT, said heads of agreement had been sent to several firms keen to move into the 750,000sq ft park at Eurocentral alongside the M8 in North Lanarkshire.

Some are interested in taking up to 100,000sq ft, with the potential to create hundreds of jobs. He said they included listed firms looking at locations for regional headquarters and others seeking to relocate to lower-cost centres.

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Lapping, speaking after last week's revelation that the 330 million park's owner was renegotiating its borrowing terms with Lloyds Banking Group, admitted progress had been slower than expected.

But he denied the development was in any trouble. He was particularly critical of some suggestions Maxim was facing administration.

"That is simply not true. We have more than 120m on deposit (to cover the rent]. We are better funded than many other developments," he said.

The huge development on the site of the former Chunghwa Picture Tubes factory remains largely unoccupied.

Lapping said Bank of Scotland, part of Lloyds, was reviewing its loan book and as values had fallen, the top slice of the total 193m loan had to be renegotiated on more expensive terms. There could be a debt for equity swap, investors may be asked to pay more, or the bank could be bought out of the deal.

He admitted, however, that the climate for enticing tenants had become much tougher since the project was conceived and that his hopes of attracting public sector clients would be hit by the imminent cutbacks.