Developer wants extra floor

Extension ‘would ease city office shortage’

2 Semple St

Proposed change would add an extra floor at 2 Semple St

The developer of an office building in Edinburgh’s Exchange District wants to add an extra floor to help alleviate the capital’s chronic shortage of top grade space. 

GSS Developments (GSS) is making the unusual request while building work on 2 Semple Street is under way.

It said permission to add a floor would also be more in keeping with neighbouring properties. 

GSS said its application for a 5,000 sq ft glass-encased sixth floor was on the advice of letting agents and in response to current market demand.

The building is the only Grade A development which will be ready for occupancy in 2018 and GSS said it was updating its plans to bring them into line with other office blocks in the vicinity, such as the seven-storey Atria building and the eight-floor Capital Square development. 

Paul Stevenson, GSS Developments director, revealed a prospective tenant and globally recognised brand had recently viewed the Semple St building but would require more space than the 38,600 sq ft currently on offer if it was to make its first foray into Edinburgh. 

He said: “It is widely accepted there is a dire lack of Grade A office space available to rent in Edinburgh city centre.

“It has become increasingly clear that a number of businesses looking to move in to Edinburgh or to relocate within the city require a footprint of 40,000 sq ft or more and we are responding to that demand.

“The City of Edinburgh Council was very supportive of our post-purchase design improvements to provide a better floor plate and enhanced stone elevations.


“With the current need to increase availability of Grade A office space within the financial district, we hope the City Council will maintain that positive approach and see the value in extending the 5th floor glass box to be over two floors.

“We recognise that this is unusual, given that we are onsite and construction is under way, but we believe that this innovative proposition provides a time-sensitive opportunity to create much needed floor space.” 

As it stands, 2 Semple Street is capable of accommodating up to 350 staff but the proposed extension would provide space for 400 employees and meet the needs of larger potential tenants.

Angela Lowe, senior director at joint letting agent CBRE, said: “An extra 5000 sq ft may not sound a lot but in a city where there is a lack of floor space it makes a significant difference in securing a broader range of tenants.

“We advised GSS that increasing the floor space will enhance the flexibility of the building and follows the example set by a number of other high-profile developments within the financial centre.

“If consent is granted for this extension it reinforces the message that Edinburgh is working hard to address high-level occupier demand and to drive economic growth.”

The current development is due to complete in July 2018 and if consent for the extension is granted it is expected the revised scheme would complete in October 2018.


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