Building Briefs – July 13th

New East Kilbride Shopping Centre project for Redpath

Following the successful completion of the landlord strip out and retail unit sub-division of the former BHS unit in East Kilbride Shopping Centre, on behalf of EK Devco Ltd; Redpath has announced the award of the subsequent retail unit fit-out which will be carried out for TJ Hughes.

Having delivered a number of similar projects within the centre including JD Sports, Miss Selfridge and H&M, Redpath said it looks forward to working alongside Mosaic, Malcolm Hollis, Dewar Associates, Reith Lambert, Gardiner & Theobald and TJ Hughes to deliver the new retail space within the centre.

The company said: “From the strip out works to the new tenant moving in, we are thrilled to be taking this project through to completion, and further develop our relationship with the team at East Kilbride Shopping Centre.”


Sentiment in Aberdeen office market in first half of 2018 continues to improve

Marischal Square

Aberdeen’s office market has continued its steady start to 2018 into the second quarter with a further 89,776 sq ft of office space transactions, almost mirroring take-up in the first quarter (88,774 sq ft) and bringing the total take-up for the first half of the year to 178,550 sq ft.

According to the latest research from property consultancy CBRE Scotland, there have been 50 office market deals transacted over the past six months which is up 67 per cent from this time last year.

The largest letting of H1 2018 was 19,000 sq ft to Aberdeen Journals which secured the top floor of 1MSq, Marischal Square, representing a return to the city centre for the publisher after an absence of almost 50 years having moved operations from a nearby site to out of town in 1970.

Demand from the energy sector has been encouraging which is evidenced by the recent lettings to BWO Offshore, securing 10,325 sq ft in Horizons House, Ping Petroleum taking 8,777 sq ft at Caledonian House, Verus Petroleum and CATS Management taking 6,079 sq ft and 4,193 sq ft respectively in The Silver Fin Building and most recently the announcement of Serica moving to a 7,730 sq ft suite at H1, Hill of Rubislaw.

Recent take-up also indicated there is activity in the banking sector with RBS relocating from the West End having secured the 7,000 sq ft top floor of 2MSq, Marischal Square and Barclays joining some of the aforementioned occupiers after securing 3,100 sq ft on level 6 at The Silver Fin Building.

H1 2018 set a new record headline rent of £32.50 per sq ft in Aberdeen which was achieved at The Silver Fin Building and is expected to be maintained in future transactions. Incentive levels will remain for the best quality space and will move out for secondary stock as there is a large amount of supply to be absorbed.


Berwickshire Housing Association appoints new property director and six new members to Board of Trustees

Angela Taylor, BHA’s new property director

Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) has appointed Angela Taylor as its new property director as well as a raft of new members to its Board of Trustees.

Angela is a customer focused, motivated housing professional, with a strong understanding of the housing system, developed over 30 years.

She has a breadth and depth of experience gained from both local authority and a range of urban and rural housing associations and has a proven track record of delivering high quality asset management and property and housing strategies and services.

Her extensive strategic, operational and management experience translates to leadership, support, coaching and staff development in delivering efficient, cost-effective services which tenants value.

BHA’s new trustees (from left) Lynn Gray, Clive Feeney, Graeme MacLeod, Sean Dickson, Paul Matthews and Susie McCosh

She is also used to working with communities and other agencies to maximise opportunities for people, and making best use of partnerships to co-ordinate investment and resources.

The new Board members bring a range of expertise with them - they include a director of the Scottish Procurement Alliance, a former logistics expert in the Royal Navy, an EasyJet Airlines executive, a chartered surveyor, an award winning hairstylist and a principal engineer.


More than 700 long-term empty homes brought back into use

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP) is celebrating strong progress over the last 12 months as it helped bring more than 700 homes lying empty for more than six months back into use.

Last year the partnership supported local authorities and partners to bring 742 long-term private empty homes back into use across Scotland – more than two every day.

Since 2011, the SEHP has worked to help councils bring 3,216 private, long-term empty homes back into use with an average total market value of around half a billion pounds. It is estimated, however, that there are still 37,000 long-term privately-owned empty homes in Scotland.

Releasing the figures in its annual report, the SEHP said progress was strong and that 20 councils had an active empty homes officer. It also noted that 26 councils were now applying the Vacant Dwelling Council Tax Levy - doubling the council tax on empty homes. The SEHP also said it received a constant flow of enquiries about the service to its Empty Homes Advice Service from private empty home owners and members of the public.

The SEHP is hosted by Shelter Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, which recently doubled the SEHP funding to support this vital area of work. A key aim of the SEHP’s work is to persuade all local authorities in Scotland to employ dedicated empty homes officers and to prioritise local empty homes work.

The SEHP says having a dedicated local authority empty homes officer supporting private owners to bring properties back into use has been instrumental in almost all of the successful cases it has seen. The SEHP has various grant-funding packages to help local authorities take that first step toward employing a dedicated empty homes officer.

Another two councils - Western Isles and Aberdeen City - have recently taken up partial funding packages from the SEHP which will allow them to test the benefits of having an empty homes officer in their region. This will take the total to 22 councils with active empty homes officers.


Scottish house prices set to increase by 20% over five-year period

House prices will rise faster in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK this year, according to new research by PwC, which predicts the average Scottish home will cost 20% more in 2022 than in 2017.

This means that the average house price in Scotland, which was £143,000 in 2017, will increase by 20% to £172,000 in 2022.

The findings, part of the professional services firm’s July 2018 UK Economic Outlook, indicates that house prices will increase by 4.8% in 2018, comfortably outpacing the UK average.

PwC said it expects to see a softening of average UK house price growth to 2.9%, with prices expected to rise across the UK with the exception of London, where it expects a 1.7% fall.

Only the West Midlands is predicted to match the 4.8% house price increase expected north of the Border.