New industrial scheme near Edinburgh airport to boost buoyant capital property market

Edinburgh’s buoyant industrial property market is set for a further boost as work gets underway on a key development near the city’s airport.

Property firm Northern Trust said the first phase of its new scheme at Newbridge, Edinburgh would provide 14 industrial units and likely complete by the spring.

Property firm Northern Trust said the first phase of its new scheme at Newbridge would provide 14 industrial units, aimed squarely at growing small and medium-sized businesses. The units will be arranged into three terraced blocks.

The firm has also appointed property adviser Colliers International as joint letting agent for the Turnhouse Court development.

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Lewis Pentland, associate director for industrial and logistics at Colliers, admitted that the property sector was facing “challenging times”, but said Edinburgh had actually seen “significantly greater” take-up in the year-to-date compared with 2019.

“This scheme will no doubt address the demand for smaller units in a location where such supply is low,” he added.

Research last week from Colliers revealed that industrial investment activity in Scotland picked up over the summer, with volumes reaching £80 million, some 40 per cent above the five-year quarterly average of £56m.

The figure was boosted significantly by the sale of Amazon’s vast Fife logistics centre to a Korean-based investor for £66.8m, marking the second-largest industrial deal ever recorded north of the Border.

Patrick Ford, director, national capital markets, Colliers International in Glasgow, said: “Overseas investors, particularly those located in Asia, remain very interested in the Scottish industrial sector and large deals continue to be done, despite global economic uncertainty on the back of Covid.”

Work on the Turnhouse Court development is expected to be complete by the spring.

The plans also include a second phase of development incorporating four larger units arranged in a single terraced block.

Jonathan Houghton, property portfolio manager at Northern Trust, said: “With works on site progressing well, I am pleased to confirm that we have now appointed Colliers as our joint letting agent for the scheme.

“This new development will complement our existing ownership in Scotland; which once completed will extend to more than 470,000 sq ft of multi-let industrial and office accommodation.”

Turnhouse Court will be actively managed by Northern Trust’s in-house managing agent Whittle Jones Scotland alongside Colliers as joint lettings agent.

A report earlier this month from property consultancy Knight Frank suggested that investment volumes in Scottish commercial property staged a recovery between July and September 2020, buoyed by the best third quarter for office deals in five years.

The Covid-19 pandemic saw investment levels drop to record lows in the second quarter, following the introduction of lockdown restrictions and, subsequently, the attachment of material valuation uncertainty clauses to commercial property assets.

However, as the economy began to re-open, a number of significant deals concluded between July and September, totalling around £400m – just shy of the Q3 five-year average of £405m.

Investment in offices during the three summer months hit £218m, against an average of £116m for the same period in the past half-decade.

The biggest deal of the quarter was Roebuck Asset Management and Hyundai Asset Management’s £133m acquisition of Aegon’s Edinburgh headquarters during July.

In Glasgow, there were several deals including Singapore-based Elite Partners Capital’s purchase of 150 Broomielaw for around £40m, while the Guildhall building on Queen Street changed hands for around £30m.

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