Building Briefs – July 9th

  • Savills: Scotland’s industrial market holds strong in 2020 despite COVID-19

The take-up of industrial & logistics space as hit record levels in Scotland in the first half of 2020, according to Savills latest Big Shed Briefing.

Ross Sinclair, director in the industrial team at Savills in Glasgow

The occupation of such units reached 704,531 sq ft (65,453 sq m) across four transactions, marking a 165% increase on the long-term half-year average and 95% increase on the first half of 2019.

The firm says take-up has entirely consisted of second hand units, with no new speculatively developed units in supply in Scotland, reducing total supply by 9% from the end of 2019 to stand at 1.34 million sq ft across nine separate units. Savills says just 12% of available supply is considered Grade A quality.

Three of the four largest industrial leasing deals to complete in Scotland in H1 2020 include: Iceland committing to 284,000 sq ft on Houston Industrial Estate, Livingston; Stanford Logistics agreeing to 122,575 sq ft at Titan Eurocentral, Motherwell; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise signing a new lease on 170,956 sq ft at HP Erksine, Bishopton.

Across the UK, Savills reports 22.4 million sq ft (2.081 million sq m) of take-up of 100,000 sq ft + industrial & logistics space, 66% above the long-term average. U

Unsurprisingly, 43% of take-up can be attributed to online retailers, with Amazon alone accounting for up to 84% of this figure. Furthermore, 3PLs accounted for 15%, many undertaking contracts for the NHS. A further 11% were short-term lease agreements as a result of Covid-19, including space to hold excess stock by retailers with a dominant high street presence.


  • Work underway to have Lochaber High School ready to open in August

The main building at Lochaber High School suffered extensive damage at the end of May following a flood caused by a burst internal water main pipe

 Work is underway to dry out and clean the affected areas, and to determine the full extent of the remedial work that will be required. It is anticipated at this stage that the work may have to continue through until December. 

An order has been placed to hire three double-classroom modular units as temporary decant accommodation for the duration of the remedial works. This will free up classrooms to allow work to be undertaken in a phased manner and with the minimum of disruption to the school. 

The Highland Council is aiming for a 100% return of pupils across Highland when all schools re-open for the new session in August. The contractors will work with the council’s in-house project team and school management to ensure that all necessary measures are in place for the safe return of pupils and staff in August, and as work continues during term time. 


  • Aberdeen nursery approved

Plans to build a new nursery at an Aberdeen primary school have been approved.

Aberdeen City Council submitted a building warrant to start work for building a single-storey nursery at Broomhill Primary School at the end of last year.

It has now been approved, and work can go ahead.

As well as the building of the nursery, the work also includes an extension to parking facilities.


  • Green light for new £4.5m B&M retail development in Crieff

Crieff is in line for a new £4.5 million B&M retail development after plans were approved by Perth & Kinross Council.

The bargain store giant will open up alongside a new garden centre on Broich Road in a move expected to create 50 long-term jobs and 30 construction jobs.

Developers London & Scottish Property Investment Management acquired the site from Tesco in 2015 after the supermarket chain had previously earmarked it for development.

The B&M announcement comes after Aldi opened on Broich Road last October.

Work on the B&M site is due to begin in late October and is expected to be completed in June next year.


  • Apartments planned at derelict Moray curling pond

Luxury apartments could be created to “breathe new life” into what was once a busy Moray sporting arena.

The site at Oldmills in Elgin was home to Elgin Curling Club and its members for more than 100 years.

But the site has fallen into disrepair ever since the club stopped playing there in the early 1970s, for what was a temporary stay in Aviemore.

Now Tulloch of Cummingston wants to build a block of 12 luxury apartments and four serviced apartments at the Oldmills site.

Planning documents state the widening of an existing pavement leading to the town centre and A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, and a new footpath north of the housing, would help make the area “safer”.


  • CBRE: Edinburgh sees ‘record low’ number of office take up deals

Edinburgh saw a record low number of office take-up deals in the second quarter of this year as the coronavirus pandemic heavily impacted the sector, according to the latest office market figures from CBRE.

Over the second quarter of the year, office take-up in Edinburgh totalled 26,876 sq ft, an 84% drop from the same period in 2019. This brings the take-up total for the first half of 2020 to 157,506 sq ft, which is 57% down on the first six months of 2019 and a further 68% down against the five-year average of 488,218 sq ft.

With COVID-19 having a huge impact on both the volume and size of lettings transactions, the quarter witnessed a record low number of deals with just eleven completing between April and June.

However, there were also nine lease re-gears comprising just over 53,000 sq ft. The largest deal was at Leven House, Edinburgh Park where Computercentre took just under 6,000 sq ft of space. There were also notable deals at Heriot Watt Research Park, with Celestia Technologies taking space at both Quantum Court and Discovery Drive.

In terms of supply, 1,609,237 sq ft of office space is available in Edinburgh. This represents an 8% rise from the previous quarter’s supply figure and a 21% increase in the year-on-year supply figure. Crucially, however, city centre supply remains low at 749,770 sq ft and new Grade A city centre stock is still at a premium with only 271,221 sq ft available.

The global health pandemic has also pushed back completion dates on new office developments within Edinburgh, such as Capital Square and New Fountainbridge, further tightening the squeeze on city centre Grade A supply.

Take-up for the Glasgow office market totalled 61,305 sq ft during the second quarter of 2020, a 67% drop from the same period in 2019 and 69% down on the Q2 five-year average of 194,429 sq ft.

This brings the total take-up for the first half of the year to 256,573 sq ft, which is 17% down on the first six months of 2019 and a further 35% down against the five-year average of 397,125 sq ft.

Key deals included the University of Glasgow acquiring just over 30,000 sq ft at Berkeley Square and serviced office provider Orega leasing 14,000 sq ft at 220 St Vincent Street. Meanwhile, the out of town market has seen Maxim Park at Eurocentral secure two large high profile lettings with Aviva and LumiraDx acquiring a combined 60,000 sq ft.

Total supply within the city now sits at 1,642,346 sq ft, representing a 1% rise from the year-on-year figure. Available Grade A office stock remains critically low in Glasgow, with just 11,509 sq ft of new office space available within the city. The pandemic has also delayed completion of new office developments within Glasgow, with construction at the likes of Atlantic Square and 177 Bothwell Street having to pause temporarily, further tightening the squeeze on city centre Grade A supply.

In Aberdeen, office take-up totalled 32,847 sq ft, a drop of 69% from the same period in 2019. This brings the take-up total for the first half of the year to 211,293 sq ft, which is encouragingly still 42% up on the first six months of 2019 and a further 5.5% up against the five-year average of 192,630 sq ft.

As was the same with Edinburgh and Glasgow, the quarter witnessed a record low number of deals with just eight transacting in the second quarter. Deals included a 16,212 sq ft letting for Expro at Kirkhill House in Aberdeen Business Park, Dyce plus 6,079 sq ft on the 8th floor at The Silver Fin Building.

Supply in the city currently sits at 2,497,981 sq ft, down 11.6% from the first half of 2019.