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Offices earmarked for Standard Life back on market

10 George Street: back on the market

A refurbished office block in Edinburgh that was earmarked as extra floorspace for Standard Life Aberdeen has unexpectedly come back on to the market.

The 69,000 sq ft of office space at 10 George Street, formerly occupied by Ernst & Young, was secured by Standard Life Aberdeen in 2017 shortly after the company was created from the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The offices were entirely pre-let to the company last year on a 15-year lease in what was said to be one of the biggest deals of the year.

Daily Business has also learned, though it is unconfirmed, that the US investment management company Franklin Templeton was close to leasing the offices. It is not thought to be still interested.

Building group Robertson began work on the refurbishment of the eight-storey block in March last year for La Française Real Estate Partners International on behalf of its client Sampension KP.

However, the offices are now being marketed by Eric Young & Co and JLL who are expecting a healthy level of interest in a rare offering of Grade A space on this scale in the city centre.

Standard Life Aberdeen said the offices were now surplus to requirements following the sale of the the life assurance business to Phoenix.

A spokesman said: “Over the course of the last year, there has been a significant change in our business, primarily through the sale of the long-term insurance business to Phoenix Group. We have therefore taken the opportunity to review our estate strategy, use of space, technology and working practices and as a result, we have made some decisions on the properties that are currently within our Edinburgh portfolio.

“Throughout 2019, we will continue to evolve our estate and workplace practices, to develop agile and flexible working for the benefit of our employees and to ensure we are making the best and most efficient use of the space we have available.”

Edinburgh’s office vacancy rate has dropped to 2.5%, down from 3.8% in 2017, and the lowest level since the financial crisis, according to JLL.

Edinburgh’s office market recorded a solid year of activity in 2018 with nearly 1 million sq ft of space let, and deals in 2019 already amount to 540,000 sq ft including lettings to WeWork, Instant Offices, Amazon and Epic Games.

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