A LANDMARK building in Glasgow city centre has been sold to build-to-rent developer Watkin Jones, which plans 750 residential units on the site.

Watkin Jones has completed the purchase of Portcullis House in Glasgow from Mapeley Investment Group.

Several potential uses, including a hotel, had been cited as possible development opportunities when it was announced in the spring that the property had been put up for sale.

Watkin Jones’ build-to-rent plans include a “co-working hub and communal amenity spaces offering spectacular view across the city”.

Portcullis House at 21 India Street, which has been sold by Mapeley Investment Group, occupies a “substantial heritable island site of 0.826 acres”, with the property extending to around 99,782 sq ft, selling agent CBRE noted in the spring.

The selling agent said then that the property “benefits from a short-term lease” until April 1, 2021 from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government at a rent of £500,000 per annum exclusive of value-added tax.

CBRE said that an initial feasibility study led by Cooper Cromar Architects had been undertaken to identify redevelopment opportunities subject to necessary consents, with “options including mixed-use sites comprising office, hotel and build-to-rent accommodation, or a landmark office building up to 275,000 sq ft”.

Watkin Jones group investment director Alex Pease said: “We are delighted to have secured a highly deliverable build-to-rent development site in Glasgow, a key target city for the group. The site is located in a prime urban location within the business district with excellent access to amenities and local transport links. The transaction demonstrates our positive outlook for the build-to-rent sector across the UK.”

Andy Cunningham, senior director at CBRE, added:  “It’s fantastic news that we can confirm we have successfully sold Portcullis House in Glasgow on behalf of our client Mapeley Investment Group Limited. 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.” 

Andy Cunningham, a senior director at CBRE, said at the time the sale was announced: “The launch to the market of Portcullis House represents an exceptionally rare opportunity to secure a centrally located property, with a number of options to reposition the building via full-scale redevelopment and the potential to significantly increase the net useable accommodation.”