Focus on: Aberdeen
Occupying a prime spot on the country’s east coast, the Granite City boasts the largest seaport in the north-east of Scotland. Although an obvious attraction for shipping and oil companies, Aberdeen also has a strong band of global companies from the professional and financial services sectors.
In addition, the city has a growing number of technology firms, many of which have developed ideas out of North Sea oilfield expertise. In fact Tritech has reworked its underwater imaging and sensor technology – one such example of a company that has successfully called upon the city’s expertise to generate new fields of discovery.
In keeping with its constant drive for development, Aberdeen boasts several colleges and two universities. Scotland’s third oldest university, the University of Aberdeen, leads the way in research and teaching of medicine, the humanities and sciences. The Robert Gordon University teaches a wide range of subjects at degree level and was also recently awarded the best modern university in the UK.
Known for many years as the Oil Capital of Europe, Aberdeen is now leading the way as the Energy Capital of Europe – a timely change brought about by the knowledge that oil and gas supplies will one day run dry. The city is reinventing itself as the forerunner of renewable energy sources – using its established history of gas and oil operations to drive the market.
As a city that is constantly evolving, Aberdeen is an exciting location for businesses large or small. 2009 brings reports of an under-supply of Grade A office space, opening the door for investment and commercial development. In addition, the city’s strive for sustainability plants it securely at the forefront of emerging technologies and efficient resources – something that’s top of the global agenda and will ultimately become part of all working practices.
Aberdeen office space – market activity
How is Aberdeen’s commercial property market faring during the recession? In a report by commercial property experts Knight Frank, released during the first quarter of 2009, office take-up for Aberdeen in 2008 was up 25% on the 2007 level, while the majority of other key UK office markets experienced lower take-up in 2008 than the previous year. In 2009, Aberdeen continues to march on with several major developments in the pipeline.
Knight Frank’s report reveals that the Aberdeen property market maintained a high demand for Grade A office space, “despite the worsening economic climate”. However, as with all markets riding out the recession, the research goes on to state that “Aberdeen is not immune from the downturn”. The city experienced a subdued investment in 2008 compared to previous years, and the report forecasts that property investment is expected to remain limited for the rest of this year.
On a more positive note, Aberdeen has a wealth of office development on the cards which is due to be completed over the next 18 months, while a further 1.5m sq ft of office space development has outline consent. Two major developments, one on Old Ford Road and another as part of the City Wharf development, are due to be completed in 2009, while a third on Justice Mill Lane is scheduled for 2010.
In fact, Knight Frank attributes much of Aberdeen’s recent strong performance to the completion of a number of key developments over the last year or two, which helped to “relieve the pattern of strong pent up demand for Grade A space”. Furthermore, “This was particularly true of the city centre, where letting activity was boosted by several completions, the largest of which was Union Plaza… the first major city centre speculative office completion since 2002.”
Aberdeen has also seen encouraging growth from the retail sector this year. In March, fashion clothing retailer White Stuff opened a store in Aberdeen, its fourth in Scotland, while the city’s Bon Accord Centre, a popular shopping destination, opened several new stores last month including high street brands Karen Millen, Warehouse, Oasis and Coast.
Overall, despite some slow-down in synch with the rest of the UK office market, Aberdeen has thus far proved itself as one of the most competent cities to pull through from the recession. The future looks bright, with stacks of commercial property development in the pipeline and a significant demand for quality Grade A office space. In short, the city looks set to bounce back stronger than ever.
Find out more about office space in Aberdeen
For more information relating to office space in Aberdeen, visit officebroker.com to perform a search and compare offices and locations. You can also speak directly to one of our expert advisors for free localised advice, and to find the best office space deal to suit your business.