Abrdn quits Edinburgh HQ after just six years

St Andrew Sq
Leaving home: Abrdn is quitting its head office

Asset manager Abrdn is leaving its head office in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square just six years after moving into the purpose-built building.

The company said hybrid working meant that half the 105,000 sq ft space is unused and it will relocate most of the 1,200 staff to its historic home at nearby 1 George Street which it first moved to in 1840 and has been refurbished.

The remaining Scottish staff will move to its offices at 1 Broadway Park, The Gyle. 

It said that the move out of 6 St Andrew Square (6SAS), taking place from May, will save the company millions of pounds, while there will be no impact on headcount.

The company announced plans to move into the £75m building in 2014 after its investment arm was involved in the deal to replace the derelict 1960s head office of Scottish Provident. Standard Life signed a 15-year lease at a rent of around £3.2m a year.

The decision predates the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2018 and its controversial rebrand to Abrdn two years ago and sale of the Standard Life brand and assets to Phoenix.

The building, which includes the Ivy, Gordon Ramsay, Vapiano, Gaucho and Wagamama restaurants, as well as a branch of TK Maxx, was sold in 2019 to KanAm Grund Group on behalf of a German pension fund in a deal believed to be about £130m.

A company spokeswoman said: “Like many companies, the way we use our office space has changed fundamentally since the pandemic.

Historic home: 1 George Street

“With a hybrid working model now firmly embedded, we’ve been reviewing how our colleagues use our Edinburgh buildings to connect, collaborate, and engage with clients, while taking into account our costs and environmental impact.

“The decision to relocate our teams into other abrdn buildings in the city will make better use of space, with less impact on the environment and at lower cost.”

The arrival of such a substantial and modern building on the office market will appeal to a list of potential tenants looking for quality offices in Edinburgh which are in short supply.

However, it is also indicative of the downsizing of large companies as home working becomes a permanent feature.

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