Focus on: Glasgow
With the steady approach of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and a bustle of activity for retail and office space agreements over recent months, Glasgow appears to be confidently defying the downturn.
News coverage and reports have suggested that although Glasgow is not immune to the recession, it has been able to continue with many planned office space and retail developments.
In a commercial property report by Drivers Jonas in March 2009, focusing on Glasgow and Edinburgh, optimism abounds that Scotland’s largest city is on course to experience high levels of completion and take-up of premier office space this year.
Alasdair Ramsay, Head of Drivers Jonas LLP in Scotland said: “Current availability is low but during 2009, the city is set to experience its largest ever level of completions,” adding, “Research shows that at present there are still a number of requirements in the market looking specifically for Grade A space.”
So how is Glasgow bucking the trend?
Although currently a long way off, the 2014 Commonwealth Games is helping to bolster the city’s levels of investment and property development.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Scott Taylor, chief executive of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, says: “One of Glasgow’s great market advantages is that a number of key transport and infrastructure developments must go ahead because of the Commonwealth Games.” He also adds that although market conditions were tough, investors were showing great confidence in the city.
In fact, the Financial Times reports that more than ┬ú500m is planned on venues and infrastructure for the Games, along with hotels, meeting and conference facilities, and office space. What’s more, a rail link between Glasgow’s city centre and the airport should also open in time for the Games.
“Investors know that Glasgow is going places,” says Scott Taylor, “which is why they are pressing ahead with plans.”
Glasgow’s retail reputation is also receiving a timely boost. Planned developments in the city include a ┬ú400m project to double the size of the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, as well as a venture to replace the existing 1970s Savoy Centre with a new retail, office and restaurant facility. In addition, Hamleys is opening its first store outside of London at Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre.
As reported on the scotsman.com, Glasgow is the place to be for retailers, with “investors committed to maintaining the city’s position as the top shopping destination in the UK outside London.”
Alongside the Commonwealth Games, other reasons behind Glasgow’s show of strength are public sector investments. In addition, “The council had the foresight to pedestrianize and enhance Buchanan Street and that will continue to bear fruit,” says Richard Low of developers Cogent Property Solutions.
This combination of factors is helping to increase overall investment and commercial property development in Glasgow, which includes plans for numerous office space projects. For example, a ┬ú6.5m office property and technology hub is on the cards for local entrepreneurs and small businesses on Bell Street, and a 5-star hotel with conference facilities and office space is set to be built in the financial district, with completion due in 2011.
As one of Europe’s top twenty financial centres, Glasgow is proving to be a resilient force against the recession and is ploughing ahead with renewed plans for development in the city.
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