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UK Government relocates staff

Biggest office deal in 20 years for 2,900 civil servants

The Hub at New Waverley: biggest letting

Almost 3,000 civil servants for the UK Government will move into new offices being built in the heart of Edinburgh in what will be biggest letting in the city for 20 years.

It is taking 190,000 sq ft in a new block now under construction at New Waverley close to the railway station and Royal Mile.

The new offices will house a number of key UK government departments, including the HM Revenue and Customs.

Property sources say it marks a new milestone in demand for top grade office space while the relocation of 2,900 jobs in the shadow of St Andrews House on Calton Hill will be seen as political capital for unionist supporters.

The deal has helped generate a record level of half year occupier activity, according to new research from JLL which said demand in Edinburgh during the first half of 2017 reached over 770,000 sq ft, the highest half year in the past ten years.

The first six months of 2017 has seen a 32% increase on the 530,000 sq ft transacted during the first half of 2016. 

JLL predicts the strong overall performance of Edinburgh’s office market during the first six months of the year to continue into Q3 with a number of other notable sized deals under offer.

The UK Government Property Unit, advised by JLL, is overseeing the deal for the Hub at New Waverley, a £200 million development of offices, restaurants, a hotel and shops, built around a new public square. 

JLL’s Ben Reed, who advised on the deal, said: “The Government’s decision to locate its flagship Scottish Hub in New Waverley makes this the largest occupier leasing deal in Edinburgh for over two decades.

“New Waverley was selected after a rigorous process looking at a broad range of criteria as well as cost efficiency. The big draw of the site, which has transformed the heart of the city’s Old Town, is its strategic location adjacent to Edinburgh’s main railway station.”

The 7.5 acre mixed-use scheme has already delivered 400 hotel rooms, including two Whitbread hotels – a Premier Inn and a Hub by Premier Inn – and an Adagio Aparthotel overlooking the Royal Mile. 

As well as completing 45 affordable homes, New Waverley has also delivered a row of 19 Victorian arches which has been transformed into a new artisan-based leisure café and specialised retail district. Currently under development is a boutique hotel by Apple Apartments, and a further 148 homes are planned.

Artisan’s projects director Clive Wilding said: “Bringing the UK Government hub right into the historic heart of the city is a ringing endorsement for what we are building here – not just for New Waverley, but for the city of Edinburgh and for Scotland.

“For New Waverley, it’s another significant step of our journey to restore life, vitality and energy to this very special part of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, and will be a natural fit for the exciting and vibrant mixed-use community we have created there.  It sends out an important message that our city centres have the interest, value and capacity to attract investment from the very best employers, which sets an important precedent for Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland.” 

Gavin Barrie, convener of Edinburgh Council’s housing and economy committee, said it will “add hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy each year.” 

He added: “The sense of place already being created by the development will be greatly enhanced. The many new and existing shops, cafes, restaurants and other attractions in the local area will reap the benefits of today’s announcement for many years to come.”

> Comment: New Waverley’s last laugh

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