Glasgow's status as "a place where businesses like to locate" will be unaffected by the independence referendum, the London-based developer behind a landmark new £65 million city-centre development has claimed.
Chris McPherson, development director of Abstract Securities, which is building the 17,000sqft St Vincent Plaza on the longstanding gap site next to the M8 and the Hilton hotel, said that the speculative building would be suitable for financial services companies, a law firm, or a new government department in an independent Scotland, depending on the outcome of September's vote.
"Businesses like Glasgow because of the quality of the workforce, the great universities and its strengths as a shopping centre and so on. The people and environment don't change. Uncertainty is not a good thing, we are still going through a fragile recovery and if occupiers have reason to pause, then they tend to do so, and the sooner this referendum is over and we have a clear-cut position, the better. If Scotland becomes a foreign country, that's fine, we've done development abroad before. Locating to an independent Scotland might be off-putting for some [prospective tenants] but it would represent diversification for others."
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Abstract Securities, which along with Norwegian company Aker is also developing the 40-acre, £130m International Business Park next to Aberdeen airport, claims that the Glasgow building's £23 per sqft rental cost makes it "the most competitive city centre build anywhere in the UK ... significantly undercutting current headline rents in the city". The grade-A, 10-storey building will also feature a string of amenities including "internet rooms" for the collection of groceries and other goods for online shoppers, and a dry cleaner's. The landscaped grounds of the building will also provide a walkway from St Vincent Street to the Hilton hotel. Bought "pretty cheap" for £1.8m on land previously owned by Castlemore, which collapsed in 2009, the site required an additional £1.25m of remediation work. The building was designed by Glasgow-based architects Keppie Design, and is expected to be ready in spring next year.