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Shift in market

Homes get nod over plan for hospitality ‘destination’

Portcullis House

Portcullis House hoped to become ‘iconic’ venue

Government offices in Glasgow city centre which had been marketed as an ‘iconic’ hospitality and commercial destination will be turned into homes for the build-to-rent sector.

Portcullis House, which occupies a 0.8 acre site in India Street alongside the M8, has been acquired by Watkin Jones from Mapeley Investment Group.

The scheme will include 750 units, a co-working hub and communal amenity spaces.

The building, which comprises 99,782 sq ft across lower ground, ground, and six upper floors, is currently let to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government until April 2021.

The proposed development is seen as an important part of the renewal of the western part of Glasgow city centre and is set for completion in 2024.

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However, its conversion into rented homes may also point to a slackening of demand for hospitality and office accommodation.

When it was put on the market at the end of April – as the lockdown took hold – it was hoped it might present the opportunity to create Glasgow’s first “iconic” mixed-use development in the style of Manchester’s Spinningfields or Birmingham’s Brindleyplace.

Spinningfields is home to some of Manchester’s most popular bars, restaurants and shops, and is also the biggest commercial district in the city, housing some of the largest corporations in the North West.

An initial feasibility study led by Cooper Cromar Architects also identified build-to-rent accommodation, as well as a hotel, as among the options for Portcullis House.

Watkin Jones group investment director Alex Pease said: “The transaction demonstrates our positive outlook for the build-to-rent sector across the UK.”

Andy Cunningham, senior director at CBRE, added:  “The marketing campaign was carried out at the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

“However, the team still managed to generate significant amounts of interest and successfully completed the entire sales campaign for the rarely available site within just 76 days. This shows there continues to be strong investor interest for high quality sites in the right locations.

“We were extremely impressed with Watkin Jones’ plans for the site and look forward to seeing them coming to life over the next few years.”  

CBRE represented vendor Mapeley Investment Group whilst Lambert Smith Hampton acted for purchaser Watkin Jones.

Airport units let

Ryden has announced the completion of the first phase of the new development at ABZ Business Park in Dyce, Aberdeen.

It consists of nine new build, high specification business units of 2,500 sq ft. The construction of Phase 2 is soon to start and will see the development of a further six units of 2,500 sq ft.

The development overlooks Aberdeen International Airport.

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