Edinburgh Napier University expands estate in West Edinburgh’s biggest office deal of 2016

University says purchase will provide flexibility now that space is at a premium

Edinburgh Napier University has bought three landmark buildings totalling 9,964 sq m (107,255 sq ft) at South Gyle Crescent in West Edinburgh’s biggest office deal this year, it has been revealed.
It has snapped up the premises, which sits adjacent to two properties already owned by the University, for an undisclosed sum as part of its estate strategy.
According to property specialists Ryden and Lewis and Partners, which is acting on behalf of seller PDPF GP Ltd, the purchase will give Edinburgh Napier options for future development.
RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland) previously occupied all three premises (Forthstone, Broadstone and Cornerstone) that the University – which has campuses at Sighthill, Craiglockhart and Merchiston – has just acquired.
The bank vacated Forthstone at the end of last year and Broadstone over a year ago.  The third building, known as the Cornerstone Building, was previously being marketed to let by Ryden prior to being sold prior to formal marketing.  The top floor continues to be let to Blyth & Blyth and the engineering firm will continue to lease the premises.
Peter I’Anson, a partner at Ryden, said: “This is a significant transaction for Edinburgh in terms of expansion for one of the city’s leading Universities and also the major impact it has on the availability of quality office product in West Edinburgh.
“Following on the heels of lettings to Orgio Services at 7 Lochside View (10,971 sq ft) and HSBC at 6 Lochside Avenue (38,000 sq ft) and the purchase of 85,000 sq ft by JP Morgan, the erosion of space is fairly evident with only limited options of suitable quality remaining within The Gyle or Edinburgh Park. With no proposed speculative development within Edinburgh Park, pressure will now focus on new development at International Business Gateway.”
Gerry Webber, secretary at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We need to support our academic ambitions through the continued development of our estate, and we have been actively exploring options to address this for some time.
“Space is at a premium across most of our campuses and this purchase provides us with flexibility.”
Cameron Stott, director for Office Agency JLL, which acted on behalf of Edinburgh Napier University, added: “This is a key strategic and astute acquisition by Edinburgh Napier University not only providing future options for expansion but also by acquiring the premises the University may also benefit from future growth in capital values. West Edinburgh has seen a significant reduction in availability and the vacancy rate for Edinburgh is now 4.8%, the lowest level since pre-crash in 2008.”
Lawyers Anderson Strathern advised Edinburgh Napier University, whilst Maclay Murray & Spens advised fund PDPF GP Ltd.
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