The opening of a new base to house almost 3,000 civil servants has moved a step closer with the Edinburgh city centre building being handed over to the UK government.
The UK government “hub”, near Waverley Station, will bring together staff from a number of departments including HMRC, the Competition and Markets Authority, and the Health and Safety Executive.
Property developers Artisan Real Estate formally handed over the keys of the building to Scottish secretary David Mundell today with fit-out work to be completed on the building ready for planned opening in Spring 2020.
The 190,000 square foot hub will incorporate a purpose-built room for meetings of the UK Government cabinet, the first time such a facility has been available in Scotland.
The hub is part of Artisan’s New Waverley development, a £200 million scheme linking Waverley Station with the Royal Mile.
Mundell said the formal handover of the building’s keys is an important milestone, “demonstrating we are making real progress towards opening the flagship building next year”.
He added:“The Edinburgh hub is a great example of the UK government’s extensive support for the capital’s economy – which we are also driving through the ambitious Edinburgh and South East Scotland Growth Deal.”
Oliver Dowden, UK minister for implementation, said the hubs programme – which also includes plans for two sites in Glasgow – is providing “great places to work for civil servants and encouraging innovation, excellence and collaboration”.
The UK government estimates that the hubs programme will save more than £2 billion of public money over the next 20 years by relocating civil servants from existing office locations to more modern workplaces.
Other departments to be based in the Edinburgh hub include the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the Government Actuary’s Department and HM Treasury.
The New Waverley development will also include three hotels, shops and 150 homes, in a new quarter set round a public square.
Artisan worked with construction partners McAleer & Rushe and designers Allan Murray Architects to deliver the Edinburgh hub ahead of time and on budget.