SCOTTISHPOWER has unveiled plans for a new-build £80 million headquarters on the site of the former Strathclyde Regional Council chief office in Glasgow city centre, and is offloading its historic base at Cathcart on the south side of the city.

About 2000 staff work at the Cathcart site, which is now earmarked for development. This was the headquarters of the South of Scotland Electricity Board, the state-owned entity that turned into ScottishPower with privatisation more than 20 years ago.

A spokesman for ScottishPower emphasised that staff at Cathcart would relocate to the new 14-storey head office on the corner of St Vincent Street and India Street, or to its Aspect House or Ochil House offices at Hamilton International Park, and that the property changes would not involve any job losses.

He cited plans by ScottishPower to recruit more staff, particularly in its UK renewables and international offshore wind business, in coming years.

The site on which the electricity and gas company's new 220,000 sq ft headquarters is to be built had been earmarked by Scottish property group Elphinstone for Scotland's tallest building, a project that never came to fruition. Elphinstone had planned a 39-storey building including housing, offices and retail space.

ScottishPower, bought by Iberdrola of Spain in 2007, said its new head office would accommodate 1500 staff and would be Glasgow's largest single-occupier office development for many years. Construction will start in 2013, and the building is due to be completed by late 2015.

The ScottishPower spokesman said the property moves unveiled yesterday would be cost-neutral. ScottishPower plans to offload its site at Cathcart, and others at Yoker on the outskirts of Glasgow and Falkirk, to property company Helical Bar. About 100 people work at the Falkirk site, with about 120 at Yoker, and these staff will also transfer either to the new head office or Hamilton.

Helical Bar has been selected as preferred developer of the new office by ScottishPower. The London-based property company will work in partnership with Dawn Developments, part of Scottish firm Dawn Group.

ScottishPower said it had acquired an option to buy the land on which the headquarters will be built from City Lofts (St Vincent Street), and would occupy the building on a long lease.

Helical Bar declined to reveal its plans for Cathcart or the two smaller ScottishPower sites which it plans to take over.

A source familiar with the property transactions told The Herald ScottishPower had secured an option to buy the plot for its new headquarters for less than it would have fetched four years ago. The source added that any reduction in the sales values of existing property assets arising from the current economic conditions would be offset by the lower land value of the head office plot.

ScottishPower and Iberdrola are understood to have opted to deal with Helical Bar on all of the planned transactions, rather than conducting separate auctions to find the highest bidders for each of the three sites being offloaded, because they believe that looking individually for buyers in the current climate could slow down significantly the entire process of restructuring the property assets.

The headquarters of ScottishPower were moved from Cathcart, where SSEB had been based for decades, to One Atlantic Quay on Glasgow's waterfront in 1991. ScottishPower has two floors at One Atlantic Quay, on which the lease is coming towards an end.

Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said: "Following the integration between Iberdrola and ScottishPower in 2007, we have invested £4 billion in the UK and made a commitment that Glasgow would remain as the central location for our company in the UK.

"This new development will ensure Glasgow remains home to ScottishPower's UK headquarters for the long term and will be a hub for delivering the £10bn of planned investment over coming years."

Neither ScottishPower nor Helical Bar would put a figure on the buildingcosts, but a source said it would be about £80m.