Commercial Property News

Our magazines are published bi-monthly with in-depth features and news for the commercial property industry. On this page we have the latest news to keep you constantly updated on the market. On the left hand side of the page you can search our archived news which is stored monthly.



Thursday, April 27, 2023

Dundas Commercial Property Fund acquires Portal House, Uddingston

Dundas Commercial Property Fund II, advised by NAI Fuller Peiser, has completed the acquisition of Portal House at Tannochside Business Park, Uddingston for 4.3m. The park was created on the former Caterpillar factory site and now provides 742,710 sq ft of office/warehouse accommodation.

The building, which provides 32,400 sq ft of high-quality serviced office accommodation, was let in its entirety on a long lease to Portal Glasgow Ltd. The purchase reflected a net initial yield of over 8% to the Fund.

Bill Binnie, investment consultant to NAI Fuller Peiser's Edinburgh office comments: "It was felt this investment offered an extremely attractive initial yield when compared with other transactions recently completed on the park. The building also provides scope to further enhance income at some time in the future through sub-division and rental growth. Tannochside Park has proved an extremely popular location for decentralized office users, being strategically located on the eastern edge of Glasgow, with excellent access to Scotland?s central motorway network".

Drivers Jonas acted for the vendor.



Yorkshire property investment reaches record high

A new report from Lambert Smith Hampton, reveals that 58.4bn of investment deals were completed in 2005, the highest year on record, meaning investment levels have almost doubled in the past two years.

The report - entitled 'UK Investment Transactions' - is based on data from LSH and Property Data. It demonstrates that the highest booms were in Yorkshire and Humberside (up 116%), the South West (up 81%), and East Midlands (up 74%). Investment in the South East increased by 49% and London enjoyed a similar rise (up 46%).

Miles Youdan, Investment Agent at LSH's Leeds office, says: "The Yorkshire Property market continues to see increasing demand. Irish money continues to come into the region. In fact, the largest shopping centre transaction of the year was Scarborough Property's sale of Frenchgate Interchange, Doncaster, to a Northern Irish investor for 250m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.75%."

"Retail was the sector that experienced most investment, accounting for 62% of total activity. Shopping centre investment saw a three-fold increase from its 2004 level with 699m of purchases. British Land purchased St Stephen's Shopping Centre in Hull for 135m and the Ridings in Wakefield was snapped up for 108m. The largest transaction in the region was Hercules Unit Trust's purchase of Parkgate Retail Park Rotherham from the Stadium Group for 260m at a net initial yield of 4%."

Overseas investors were the most significant players in terms of net investment, injecting around 6bn into the market - they were often able to out-bid rivals due to lower interest rates across Europe. Institutions invested a sum to the tune of 3bn, targeting sectors and regions that they believed offered better growth potential to satisfy their longer-term investment horizon.

UK debt-backed investors continued to dominate the market, with over half of all purchases (53%), with institutions and overseas investors accounting for 24% and 23% respectively. This was influenced by the continued desire by banks to lend to the property sector.

Institutional investors were active across most sectors but UK debt-backed buyers were more active in the retail sector, with 39% of their purchases, including 7.7bn worth of shopping centres, in the sector. By contrast, overseas investors focused on buying office assets, particularly in Central London, which accounted for 47%, or 11.4bn, of their activity.

Institutional investors committed 368m of new funds into the Yorkshire and Humberside market followed by private investors who committed an additional 206m of funds.



BUREDI plans for new urban village in Edinburgh submitted

A former brewery site in Edinburgh is set to be transformed into a pedestrianised, urban village through a 70 million proposal by BUREDI, a joint venture between The Burrell Company and EDI Group. The proposal for the canal-side development in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge area has now been submitted to the city council for planning permission.

The proposal is due to be considered by the Council at its Planning Committee on 26 April 2006. It reveals ambitious plans to build nearly 200 new homes in the city centre, concentrated around a new, tree-lined boulevard that features a flight of grand steps leading down to the main road.

The proposals will bring environmental and landscaping benefits for the former industrial site. These include the new pedestrianised boulevard called Freer Street, a public courtyard garden, pedestrian and cycle routes, an innovative mix of family and city-style homes and underground car parking for 120 vehicles.

The plan combines 71,500 sq ft of office space with two and three-bedroom apartments, duplexes, penthouses and family-style townhouses running along the new street. A new courtyard garden adjoining the new phase of the Edinburgh Quay development will offer people living and working in the new city quarter a relaxing place to sit.

BUREDI's Freer Street blueprint also aims to create a new footbridge over the Union Canal, establishing a major new pedestrian link between the residential area of Viewforth and the commercial Exchange District. BUREDI is keen to work with British Waterways to facilitate the footbridge.

The scheme has been drawn up for BUREDI by Allan Murray Architects whose masterplan for the area led to the Council's implementation plan for the entire Fountainbridge area. Allan Murray Architects has previously worked with BUREDI on its award-winning Coalhill and Tron Nursery developments.

Freer Street is part of a larger city changing project to regenerate the Fountainbridge area and will complement further schemes by other developers, including phase two of Edinburgh Quay, in line with the Council's Development Brief for the area.

BUREDI has struck a deal in principle to buy the Tartan Club site from Scottish & Newcastle. Subject to planning permission being secured, work will start on site at the end of 2006 with the first properties being released for sale in early 2008.



Tuesday, April 25, 2023

UK Commercial property returns almost double in first quarter

Total returns on UK Commercial property were 2.0% in March 2006, contributing to a very strong 4.4% return for the first quarter of 2006-almost double that achieved in the first quarter of 2005 when returns were 2.7%.

This strong performance put property in second place against the other asset classes, out-performing gilts but failing to beat the 8.1% quarterly return achieved by equities. However over the long term (5 and 10 years), property remains the top performing asset.

Capital value growth over the whole of the first quarter was 3.1%. All property rental values were steady over the quarter, increasing by 0.7%. Accordingly capital growth was again fuelled by a sharp downward shift in yields. In March alone all property yield fell by 8 basis points, increasing capital values by 1.4% for the month.

The office sector out-performed for the third consecutive month, with a total return in the first quarter of 5.4% followed by retails at 4.2% and industrial at 4.0%. All three sectors saw yields fall sharply in March; offices by 10 basis points and retail and industrials by 8 basis points. For the first time since 2000 offices saw the strongest growth in rental values, of 0.5% compared with 0.2% in the retail sector and 0.1% for industrials.

The Monthly Index covers around 40bn worth of property. IPD's new Quarterly Index covering well over 70bn of property will be launched in May 2006.



Drivers Jonas Scotland in new letting at Airlink Business Park, Paisley

The Scottish office of Drivers Jonas has completed the latest letting at Airlink Business Park in Paisley. Green-Works in association with the Kibble School, has taken 15,500 sq ft of warehouse accommodation in Airlink North, the main facility within the Park.


The letting marks the latest in a flurry of deals, including AirSea Scotland and Renfrewshire Council, who have recently taken up residence within the business park. The remaining 4 units within Airlink North now extend to 86,000 sq ft. These units are available separately or in combination. Each unit at Airlink North also benefits from extensive yardage, high prominence and excellent accessibility to the M8 and Glasgow Airport.



New style bar set to hit Frederick Street, Edinburgh

Acting on behalf of Kilmartin Property Group Limited, Culverwell has let 15a Frederick Street, Edinburgh to CCK Bars Ltd.

The premises comprise a lower ground floor public house extending to 2,085 sq ft and a basement of 289 sq ft. CCK Bars Ltd have entered into a new 25 year full repairing and insuring lease, subject to 5 yearly upward only rent reviews at an initial rent of 125,000 per annum.

Callum Mackinnon, a Director of CCK Bars Ltd, commented: "We are extremely excited about the prospect of opening our first style bar within Edinburgh city centre. Frederick Street is one of the best known locations within the city centre linking George Street and Princes Street and we expect to be open for business by June 2006."



Monday, April 24, 2023

29m regeneration development for Sefton

It's the sound of builders at work rather than people dancing the night away coming from the site of the former 'Secrets' nightclub in Bootle which is getting a new lease of life after Sefton Council and lead developers Bellway Homes West Lancashire agreed terms to build 1400 quality homes.

Phase 1 of the 15 year programme will see 29 million pounds invested to create 324 new homes - 52 of them on the Secrets site and the rest in the area previously occupied by the Roberts Primary school. The houses - which are for rent and shared ownership - will be managed by housing partner Breathe+.

Preparation works are also underway on two large canalside sites (Toprain and 511 Hawthorne Rd) and building will start there later this year.

Bellway will be working on the Hawthorne Road/Klondyke corridor until 2021.

The regeneration of the area is happening as part of the NewHeartlands Housing Market Renewal Initiative (HMRI) on Merseyside.

Councillor Ian Maher, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and NewHeartlands Boardmember, said: "This is a vital agreement which will lead to millions of pounds worth of private sector investment in these neighbourhoods. It will help deliver the transformational change we are seeking for housing in the area, by creating an impressive range of modern houses and apartments providing quality and choice for local residents for generations to come."



Thursday, April 20, 2023

RICS UK first quarter 2006 construction survey

A steady supply of labour from Eastern Europe is helping keep wage inflation down and skills shortages to an almost record low says RICS UK construction survey, published 14 April.

Overall, 23% more chartered quantity surveyors report a rise than a fall in activity, up from 20% in the last quarter of 2005. Scotland leads Wales as the UK construction activity hotspot. Growth is being driven by strong private house building and commercial property construction.

Despite this, the supply of labour has undergone a marked improvement with only 28% of the survey's 178 respondents reporting shortages of skilled workers. This is the second lowest reading in the survey's history, behind 25% in 1999 and a dramatic drop from the survey high of 46% in late 2003. London and the South East have experienced the greatest fall in skills shortages over this period which fits geographically with inward migration of construction workers from new EU member states.

RICS has recently collected separate data which, for the first time, shows how the influx of overseas professional skills (as opposed to skilled manual labour) is relieving upward pressures on professional salaries in the construction industry. The same survey reports that growth in the wages for skilled labour has been contained in the last year. For 2005, wage rises matched the economy as a whole having been significantly stronger in 2004.

RICS economist, David Stubbs, says: "Gathering strength is evident in several areas of the industry with growth in the housing sector the strongest in almost two years as buyer activity has improved. Continually rising commercial property values are spelling larger profits for developers, propelling a strong rise in workloads for the sector."

"With competitively priced overseas labour, the 'Olympic effect' and government spending plans likely to bring a further boost, next year is looking rosy for many construction companies. Sharply increasing prices for materials such as steel and copper are the only potential blot on the landscape but the industry will continue to shrug these off while property values rise."



Ayr Central Retail Park sold

Acting on behalf of WG Mitchell Limited, Culverwell (0131 2266611) has recently concluded the sale of Central Retail Park, Allison Street, Ayr at a price of 3.55 million, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.94%.

The second phase of the retail park comprises 15,200 sq ft and is let to Pets at Home Limited, DP Realty Limited, Salon Services, Video Drive In Limited and Floors 2 Go plc. Existing occupiers on the park include Lidl and Brantano Footwear.

The multi-let retail investment has a total rental income of 223,154.50 per annum. The purchaser, MRC Pension Trust Limited was represented by Eric Young & Company.



Allsop Leeds office in new appointment

Allsop's northern office has appointed Angela Calow BSc (Hons), MRICS, as a senior surveyor in the residential valuation department. Previously a residential valuer with DTZ's Leeds office, Angela will provide valuation advice to a range of Allsop clients, including Grainger Trust plc, Royal Bank of Scotland and Sovereign Reversions plc.

Says Andrew Wells, Partner in charge of Allsop's northern office: "We are delighted to have attracted Angela to Allsop. With her expertise in residential valuation and development work she will enable us to grow our reputation and client base still further."

Allsop's northern office is based in Leeds and provides specialist advice on residential property holdings to a range of clients including property companies, housing associations, housebuilders and other developers, major institutional investors and high net worth individuals. The firm undertakes large property portfolio valuations and advises on residential investment and development opportunities. It also advises on large UK land holdings and sources new development opportunities.



Lambert Smith Hampton secure letting at Livingston Hub

The Edinburgh office of property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has now secured a letting on the remaining space at Phase 1 of Esk Properties' mixed use Livingston Hub development. Massimo Leisure has taken a new 25 year lease on the 771 sq m (8,300 sq ft) ground floor bar/restaurant at an annual rent of 99,600.

Niall Burns of LSH said: "We were not surprised that we managed to secure a tenant so quickly after the completion of phase 1 as the bar/restaurant opportunity attracted a lot of interest. Not only is the site well located for Livingston as a whole, but with a very successful Travelodge hotel already trading on-site and up to 9,290 sq m (100,000 sq ft) of Grade A offices planned for phase 2, there is a sizeable potential clientele on the immediate doorstep".



Four units let at The Junction Retail Park, Hull

The Junction Limited Partnership, advised by Edgerley Simpson Howe & Partners and King Sturge, has let four units at The Junction Retail Park, Clive Sullivan Way, Hull. The four lets are -

Miller Brothers, the electrical retailer, has acquired Unit 2a, totalling 12,500 sq ft (1,161 sq m) at a rent of 312,500 pa, equating to 25 per sq ft (269 per sq m).

Pets at Home, Britain's leading pet retailer, has taken Unit 4, totalling 8,000 sq ft (743 sq m) at a rent of 176,000 pa, equating to 22 per sq ft (237 per sq m).

PC world, the computer retailer, has taken Unit 5, totalling 15,000 sq ft (1,394 sq m) at a rent of 337,500 pa, equating to 22.50 per sq ft (242 per sq m).

Barker & Stonehouse, the independent furniture retailer, has taken Unit 6, totalling 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq m) at a rent of 360,000 pa, equating to 18 per sq ft (194 per sq m).



Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Arlington Securities acquires Etna Industrial Estate in Motherwell

Arlington Securities, one of Europe's leading independent property services and investment management businesses, advised by NAI Fuller Peiser, has completed the purchase of Etna Industrial Estate in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on behalf of an investment client for 1.85m, reflecting a 7.5% net initial yield. The former SDA industrial estate was purchased from HXRUK, and totals 43,000 sq ft (3,995 sq m) of industrial/warehouse accommodation with generous yardage/parking. Ryden advised HXRUK.

Bill Binnie, investment consultant at NAI Fuller Peiser's Edinburgh office, comments: "Etna Industrial Estate offers strong potential for short-term rental growth. It is strategically located adjacent to the proposed redevelopment of the former Ravenscraig Steel Works site, one of Europe's largest urban regeneration projects. The Ravenscraig scheme will create a new town centre totalling almost 300,000 sq m (3,229,173 sq ft), which will transform the surrounding area and will we believe drive forward rental levels in the area."



Thursday, April 13, 2023

Property Executive Development Awards for Excellence 2006

The nomination deadlines for this years awards in Scotland and the North are fast approaching.

To Nominate a client for one of the awards please visit the awards page and send it no later than -

31st April (for the Scottish Awards)
31st July (for the North of England Awards)

There are eleven categories of awards and full details for nominations and the awards themselves are on the awards page on this site.



YES! project to benefit the local environment in Yorkshire

The YES! project, the 300m entertainment resort planned for South Yorkshire, will bring positive environmental benefits, says the company behind the ambitious project. YES! will feature various sporting and leisure facilities including an Olympic-standard canoe slalom, extreme sports, a live music venue and many other attractions.

The joint venture of AIM-listed developer Oak Holdings, and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is developing the scheme, which will be located at the former coal mine, Pit House West, next to Rother Valley Country Park, on the Rotherham and Sheffield border.

Steve Lewis, chief executive of Oak Holdings, explains: "YES! will bring significantly enhanced environmental benefits to the area. The site, as it stands now, is contaminated and has spoil contamination in the deep trenches. We will remediate the contamination as part of the development and ensure the scheme respects the existing contours of the landscape and fits in well with the local vernacular."

"Furthermore, the development has a platform with a footprint of less than 30 acres (12 ha) which is actually less than one tenth of the 328 acre (129 ha) site. This means that most of the site will remain natural habitat and, in fact, will allow the public greater access through the expansion of jogging routes, footpaths and the cycle network."

The scheme intends to fully integrate the Rother Valley Country Park which will in effect create a comprehensive ?green lung? of over 1000 acres (405 ha). Oak and RMBC will retain and improve the natural habitat and the existing landscape including water courses, reed beds, ponds and other water features. Furthermore, groundwater heat pumps will be used and low carbon-emission policies are being pursued, whilst car-parking will be cleverly disguised through innovative planting.

Adam Wilkinson, from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, comments: "The project has to go through the normal planning process, but Oak and RMBC have worked closely together to ensure that the development will be to the highest architectural criteria, greatly exceeding the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method?s standards. This is a voluntary system for rating environmental impact."



Northern Construction boom ends as public investment slows down

The construction boom in the North of England has now ended as investment in public sector infrastructure has largely stagnated, according to the latest regional construction forecast, Foresight, from Construction Forecasting and Research at Experian, a leading economic forecasting group.

The decline in public investment will have a major impact on the north's overall economic prospects as construction has been the main contributor to the region's growth over the past five years.

Wales and the South of England will experience the strongest construction growth up to 2008. Wales will benefit from continued Welsh Assembly investment in public construction while output in the South of England will continue to expand in response to a growing population and buoyant private sector economy. However, a marked slowdown is forecast for all regions compared with growth between 2000 and 2004.

As public sector investment declines, private sector demand will drive the lion's share of construction growth up to 2008. Construction in the South, the East of England and Greater London will benefit from sizeable projects, including the Thames Gateway regeneration, the Olympic Games and planned improvements to infrastructure. Efforts to address the mismatch between housing supply and housing demand, both on the private and public side, will also have an effect.

Regions in the north will experience the slowest growth in construction up to 2008. Yorkshire and the Humber is expected to be the weakest region going forward, in stark contrast with the recent past when the region was one of the star performers. While lacklustre growth is forecast in all of the region's main sectors, a short-term decline in the sizeable private housing sector and stagnant commercial output will have the most significant constraining effect. Construction growth in the North West is forecast to be equally subdued and output is estimated to rise by just 5 per cent to 2008.

Across Great Britain as a whole, construction output is forecast to rise by 13 per cent to 2008. Growth is forecast to trail the national rate in five out of eleven regions, namely Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West, the East Midlands, Scotland and the North East. Increases in the South West are forecast to be in line with the national average and output growth is expected to be better than the average in the remaining five regions, the West Midlands, South East, Greater London, East of England and Wales.



FM Commercial unveils latest Glasgow development

FM Commercial, the successful commercial property division of the rapidly expanding Edinburgh-based FM Group, has unveiled its latest, and most ambitious commercial property development in Scotland to date.

The Infiniti building in Glasgow's Finniston area, will offer contemporary office space in an 11 storey development. Office space will be available for sale by floors / multiple floors, or as a whole.

Situated close to the banks of the River Clyde, the site will provide 58,000 net sq ft of versatile office space providing prospective buyers maximum space planning flexibility. Initial construction work on the multi-million pound development started in Febuary 06, and the fully glass fronted project will ensure that the Infiniti Building stands out in the marketplace.

Kevin Brady, Group Commercial Development Director said: "The success of FM Commercial has been in our versatility; we deliver high specification, cutting-edge design developments on time and on budget. Our activity extends into the office, retail, industrial and leisure sectors, and our speciality in the market, is in providing optimum location, space, design and layout."

FM Commercial have a successful portfolio of current and completed projects, including the Point in Shawlands: a 12,000 sq ft retail development nearing completion, with Tesco, Oddbins and Carphone Warehouse already signed-up for commercial space, the iconic Pinnacle Building on Bothwell Street, Glasgow, River Heights on Hyde Park Street, near the Kingston Bridge and the famous Herald Building in Glasgow's Merchant City.



Fourteen more English councils bid for PFI investment

Fourteen more councils have asked to develop housing Private Finance Initiative schemes to build more social rented homes as part of a drive to regenerate their local communities.

PFI plays an important role for local authorities wanting to improve and increase the supply of homes or as a means of regenerating an area. Nine new build schemes and five decent homes and local regeneration schemes have been submitted as expression of interest bids to the fifth bidding round.

The proposals are from councils across six regions in England, including London, South East, North West, North East, West Midlands and Yorkshire & Humberside. The outcome of successful fifth round bids will be made in the summer.

In May a new bidding round for ALMOs and housing transfer for those local authorities not yet on a decent homes programme will be launched. This bidding round will close at the end of July with the outcome announced in the Autumn.



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Keller Group buys Phi for initial 5m.

Keller Group plc, the ground engineering specialist, has bought Phi Group Limited for an initial 5m, with further payments profit related. Phi is a specialist contractor offering slope and excavation retaining wall systems.

Justin Atkinson, Keller CEO reported: "The acquisition of Phi positions Keller as the leading provider of earth retention systems in the UK and will enable us to take full advantage of future opportunities in this growing sector."



ICM Launches Recovery Centre at Hamilton International Park

IT Assurance company, ICM Computer Group, is the latest high profile tenant to move into an office at Hamilton International Park.

Hamilton International Park is a joint venture between AWG Property Limited and HF Developments to develop over 400,000 sq ft (37,161 sq m) of specified Grade A offices. Phase I provides over 240,000 sq ft (22,296 sq m) to meet the requirement of modern businesses in Aspect House, International House, Campsie House, Fintry House, Kintail House and Kilpatrick House.

The 500 seat Campsie House has undergone a 1.5m specialist fit-out to accommodate ICM's first recovery centre in Scotland. The 30,000 sq. ft facility was selected by the computer group for its close proximity to the M74 and M8 motorways. ICM have taken a minimum 15 year lease at 14.50 per sq ft.

The recovery centre will facilitate access to ICM's innovative Recovery Services for businesses in central Scotland and beyond. In addition to the workplace and data centre facilities, the Centre will hold a comprehensive range of IT recovery stock should anything happen to a company's main office, they can relocate to the centre or have stock shipped directly to them.

William Hill, managing director of HF Developments, said: "When ICM was looking for the ideal location for its recovery centre, we knew that we were the perfect solution, providing close proximity to both Glasgow and Edinburgh and beyond and also providing the highest possible standards of office accommodation and IT and communications fit out. The expansion of Hamilton International Park is testament to the success and the ongoing need for high quality office space within an attractive environment."

Stephen Kelly, director of AWG Property, added: "The expansion of the park will provide substantial business opportunities for Scottish companies looking to grow and expand, as well as national and international businesses looking to gain a greater foothold in the West of Scotland market. The ongoing development will create thousands of jobs for the surrounding area, demonstrating our commitment to making Hamilton International Park Scotland's premier business venue."



Galliford Try reaches financial close on 134m Highlands school PFI

Galliford Try plc, the construction and house building group, has reached financial close on a PFI project for 134m of construction work to build eleven new schools in the Highlands of Scotland.

The scheme encompasses five primary schools, three secondary schools, one combined primary and secondary and a special needs facility. Work will be carried out over the next three years by Morrison Construction.

The project was at preferred bidder stage on the acquisition of the Morrison Construction Division by Galliford Try in March.

Greg Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Galliford Try, commented: "The successful financial close of the Highland Schools PFI follows closely behind the 192 million Northamptonshire Schools PFI secured by Galliford Try last December. We are delighted to be working with the Highland Council to create buildings that will serve the whole community as well as significantly enhancing the facilities for education in the Highlands.

As expenditure on education continues to remain a priority, Galliford Try's track record in the sector, from primary schools through to university buildings, underlines the Group's presence in this key market sector."



40m Antonine Shopping Centre for Cumbernauld town centre

Steelwork erected at the Antonine Shopping Centre site marks a major step in rebirth of Cumbernauld town centre. Civic leaders will gather in Cumbernauld today to witness a major step in the rebirth of the town centre, as the first structural steelwork is erected at the 40m Antonine development site.

The 250,000 sq. ft. Antonine Shopping Centre will create 600 new jobs in the town and is set to open in May 2007. On completion, the new centre will link to the existing town centre shopping complex via lifts, escalators and walkways.

Councillor Barry McCulloch is Chair of (CCCL), the company set up to redevelop Cumbernauld town centre. He said: "This new development signals the rebirth of Cumbernauld town centre and will increase the variety and quality of shops available for the people of the town. Cumbernauld is going through a major transition. This new centre not only represents a substantial investment in the future of Cumbernauld but will also create 600 new jobs. Every week around 0.5M is spent by the developer in bringing a great new retail experience to the town and by next summer we'll have a new shopping centre to rival any in Scotland. I hope that this will cement the continued regeneration of Cumbernauld town centre and enable people living in the area to take renewed pride in the town."

The event also marks the launch of a public information campaign by Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd (CCCL), which aims to keep people living in Cumbernauld and the surrounding area up-to-date with the project's development. This will include a leaflet sent to all households in the area, a media relations campaign and exhibitions to be held at local community centres.

The Antonine Centre will be one of the top shopping centres in Scotland, with high-profile stores such as Dunnes Stores, Next, TKMaxx, Woolworths and JJB Sports. There will be 42 shops and 3000 parking spaces. The centre is being developed by London and Regional Properties and built by Dawn Construction.

Retail analyst CACI estimates that the Antonine Centre will increase what people spend shopping in Cumbernauld town centre by 84%.

The new centre forms part of phased development of Cumbernauld town centre, facilitated by Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd. January 2004 saw the completion of the first phase of more than 100,000 sq. ft. Tesco store development, a near-20m investment, which has brought 300 extra jobs to Cumbernauld.



Thursday, April 06, 2024

RICS forecasts UK commercial property returns to fall 17% in 2006

UK commercial property returns are set to decline by 17% in 2006 and by 9% in 2007, according to forecasts released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. A rise in public investment and in demand from institutional investors over the next two years is expected to be offset by a drop in foreign investment demand as the cost of funding increases, RICS asid.

Foreign-based investment in UK commercial property is likely to come under pressure as the cost of financing rises in the US, the euro zone and Japan, RICS said. It added that UK 10-year gilt yields have risen by a quarter of a percent in the past month despite the Bank of England keeping its main repo rate unchanged. This will raise borrowing costs for real estate investors and cool demand, it said.

The outlook for rental growth over the next two years is more positive, however, with a continued recovery in the office rental market but softer growth in retailing and industrial rents. Rental growth in the office sector is expected to reach 5.4% by the fourth quarter of 2007, while growth in the retail market is forecast to halve to 2%. Rents for the industrial sector, however, are expected to fall by 0.5%, RICS said.



Xscape Braehead Glasgow Celebrates Opening

Xscape has opened in Braehead, Glasgow, following an 18-month construction programme, the 70m brownfield regeneration project is home to Scotland's first indoor real snow slope and will be Scotland's biggest leisure destination, with an anticipated 4 million visitors in its first year.

Xscape Braehead, a joint venture between Capital & Regional Plc and Capital Shopping Centres, is a 380,000 sq ft sports, shopping and entertainment destination. It is anchored by a 200-metre real snow slope as well as a 12 screen multiplex cinema and 22 lanes of bowling.

Xscape also offers 35,000 sq ft of urban, lifestyle and sports shops let at headline rents of 40 psf and 73,000 sq ft of restaurants and bars let at headline rents of 25 psf, in addition to the 270,000 sq ft of leisure on offer. The current rental income from Xscape Braehead is over 4 million per annum, which places Braehead ahead of both the Milton Keynes and Castleford when those projects were at the same stage.

Over 90% of the available space at Xscape Braehead is now let to major operators such as Odeon Cinemas, Bowlplex plc, Ellis Brigham, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito, Nando's, Ma Potters and Pizza Express together with retailers, such as Roxy, Billabong, Evans Cycles, Trespass, Blue Salamander and Adrenalin Junkie.

Total investment into the Xscape Braehead's project following tenants' fit out is estimated in excess of 100m, and it is expected that this investment will generate around 1,000 new jobs in the area.

Xscape CEO, PY Gerbeau says: "Xscape Braehead Glasgow is the third generation Xscape - our experience at Milton Keynes and Castleford has shown us what really works for our operators and customers and we are confident that this Xscape is the best yet. It is about providing a first class experience for our customers that brings them back again and again and so we provide the best platform for our business partners to be successful.

This formula has been a huge success so far - 6 million people visited Xscape Milton Keynes in 2005 - and the fact that Xscape Braehead Glasgow is already 90% let is a good indication that operators share our high hopes for our newest destination. We have plans for a further 2 or 3 Xscapes in the country and we are evaluating sites in the South East and South West of the country where we are currently unrepresented."

Xscape Braehead is part of the largest privately funded waterside regeneration project in the country, Renfrew Riverside, which has been called one of the most important strategic locations in Scotland. Braehead is already an established and successful retail and leisure destination and Xscape Braehead is part of Phase 2 of Braehead's development - there is an additional 185 acres earmarked for future development.

Phase 1 opened 5 years ago with the Braehead Shopping Centre and Retail Park, which now attracts around 20 million visitors a year. It offers 1.06 million sq ft of retail and leisure with 117 shops and stores and with a 300,000 sq ft IKEA situated on an adjacent site. As well as Xscape, Phase 2 involves further substantial regeneration activity including some 1,350 new homes, a riverside park and walkway and 750,000 sq ft of offices.



UK new construction orders up 1% in last three months

The Department of Trade and Industry has reported that new construction orders in the UK rose by 1% in the three months to February compared with the previous three months and by 8% from the same 3 months a year ago.

Sector breakdowns can be seen below.

Private commercial orders were 15% higher compared to the previous three months, and rose by 21 pct compared to the same period a year earlier.

Private industrial orders rose by 39% compared to the previous three months, and by 47% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Private housing orders fell by 3% compared with the previous 3-months, and by 1% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Public housing and housing association orders fell by 21% compared to the previous three months, but rose by 36% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Public non-housing orders rose by 2% compared with the previous three months, but were 8% lower when compared to the same period a year earlier.

Infrastructure orders fell by 32% compared with the previous three months, and by 5% when compared to the same period a year earlier.



Peter Walker Group placed into receivership

Peter Walker Group, based in Edinburgh, has been placed into receivership after suffering the financial fallout from a "number of unprofitable contracts", receiver KPMG said.

The firm ceased trading immediately. Some 55 of the 80 staff at its Loanhead headquarters have been axed along with 289 site workers, ranging from surveyors and architects to bricklayers.



Bellway Homes to increase activity in Scotland

Newcastle-based Bellway Homes is planning a big increase in activity in Scotland after buoyant trading north of the border provided a bright spot in a challenging first half.

Bellway said it wanted to acquire sites across the country after growing sales in Scotland by 54%, to 290 homes, in the six months ended January 31, when volumes in other parts of the UK were flat.

Like other housebuilders Bellway has found that demand has remained strong in Scotland, where the employment market is in good shape and consumers do not have as much debt as those in many other parts of the UK.

Bellway, which builds around two-thirds of its homes on 'brownfield' or former industrial sites, said it sold 2958 homes in the six months to end-January, broadly in line with the number compared with a year ago.

The average selling price of houses across the UK fell by 1,000 to 166,600. In the east of Scotland unit Bellway managed to increase selling prices from 180,500 to 182,500 but prices dropped from 180,400 to 150,800 in west Scotland. The company attributed the fall to an increased share of flats in the total figures.

The difficult trading conditions were reflected in a fall in interim pre-tax profit to 87.8m, from 89.7m a year earlier, although revenues rose 3% to 507.5m. Bellway said its order book for 2006 was around 715m with more than 90% of the company's year target secured.



McCarthy & Stone in 55m Scottish investment plan

Specialist housebuilder McCarthy & Stone plans to invest 55 million in Scotland over the next three years. The Bournemouth-based company said the investment would cover the cost of buying land and the construction of 600 retirement flats.

McCarthy & Stone said it was moving further afield from its traditional Scottish target areas of Edinburgh and Glasgow as demand grew. The company has planning approval for developments in Dalkeith and Dunbar and is also working on projects throughout Scotland to take it's total number to 58 in the country.

The UK's biggest retirement home builder, which was established in 1977, first launched its Scottish operation in 1987 and has since built 3000 apartments north of the Border.



Tuesday, April 04, 2024

Farningham McCreadie teams up with White Young Green Planning

The Farningham McCreadie Partnership, a leading planning consultancy in Scotland and Ireland with offices in Edinburgh and Belfast, is joining forces with White Young Green Planning.

Farningham McCreadie undertakes work in all aspects of town planning, for a wide range of public and private sector clients, throughout the UK and Ireland. The enlarged town planning business will strengthen significantly White Young Green's multidisciplinary capabilities, as consultant to the built, natural and social environment.

John Whittaker, the Managing Director of White Young Green Planning commented; "This is a hugely important step forward, which extends the reach and depth of our town planning capabilities throughout the UK and Ireland, founded on an excellent reputation and strong client base".



Miller Developments Appoint New Investment Manager

Miller Developments has appointed Neil Finnie as Investment Manager at its Edinburgh HQ. Neil (27) will join the investment team which is responsible for acquiring property assets throughout the UK and maximising the company's existing portfolio through asset management opportunities.

An honours degree graduate in Geography from Edinburgh University in 2000, Neil also gained a Masters in Land Economy from Aberdeen University in 2003. Prior to joining Miller Developments, Neil worked with Jones Lang Lasalle for two years where he spent time in both the Professional and Office Agency Departments.

Neil said: "I am delighted to be joining Miller Developments. I'm looking forward to the new challenge and the chance to establish myself with the country's leading property company."



Queen Margaret University College sell Leith Campus to Sundial Properties.

Ryden, on behalf of Queen Margaret University College, today announced the sale of the Leith Campus of Queen Margaret University College. The college will remain in occupation until Summer 2007 when it will relocate to a new major multi-million pound campus at Craighall, East Lothian.


18 offers were received for the property and the purchaser is Sundial Properties at a price close to 5 million. Sundial has obtained planning consent to convert the building to 39 residential flats plus a 10,000 sq ft office suite.

The college is situated in the heart of Leith overlooking Leith Links and was formerly the Leith Academy. The category B Listed building was built in 1931. It is a three storey pentagon shaped building constructed in sandstone and red brick providing 4,205 sq m (45,266 sq.ft.) on a site area of 0.53 hectares (1.3 acres).



Bell & Scott in new advisory wins

Edinburgh-based commercial property law firm Bell & Scott has secured three advisory deals worth a total of 370 million.

The group said the deals included advising venture capitalists Phoenix Equity Partners pull off the 45m take-over of Dalkeith-based Letts Filofax. The firm also acted for Alchemy Partners in the 209m takeover of Parkdean Holdings and for Corus Hotels in its 116m sale to Washington Hotels



Housebuilders sought for development at Coldeast Hospital

The search is on for a high quality developer to transform a former Hampshire hospital site as part of nationwide programme to bring surplus NHS land back into productive use.

National regeneration agency English Partnerships, took ownership of the Coldeast Hospital site in Lock Heath near Fareham last April, as part of a portfolio of 96 sites across the country. It is now looking for a housebuilder to help create a high quality development of around 150 new homes.

Part of the site currently has planning consent for 150 homes. Around 25% of these are expected to be affordable. Further homes may be available for first time buyers via a shared equity scheme.

Some of the derelict hospital buildings on this site are set to be demolished, but English Partnerships will be ensuring the preservation of locally listed buildings such as the stable block, dairy cottage, cart shed and the pillars at the two main gateways to the site.

In addition, the community hall currently used by a local scouting group will be refurbished and transferred to Fareham Borough Council. A contribution will also be made to local bus services as a result of an agreement with the local authority.
English Partnerships is also marketing the remaining part of the site that does not have planning permission, including The Mansion House.

The agency is currently in discussions with Fareham Borough Council to explore the future for this part of the site, including the preservation of The Mansion House and woodland areas.

David Warburton, Area Director for English Partnerships said, "The redevelopment of this site offers a great opportunity to increase the supply of good quality housing, particularly affordable housing, in this desirable location and we are looking for a developer to work with us to create a new community which is sensitive to the local surroundings."

The new homes on the site will be built to English Partnerships high standards of quality and design. They will also need to meet EcoHomes standards of "very good" or above. Interested developers have until 1 June to submit their proposals for the Coldeast Hospital site.