My Column

Commercial deals are still hot property

  • Date: Monday 19th November 2018
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With so much business hesitation being prompted by Brexit, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw property investment taking a serious hit.

After all, amid sustained political turbulence and Tory ministers dropping like flies, there aren’t many that are prepared to stick their necks out right now.

Yet, the experts are telling us different – and it’s brilliant to see that it’s largely business as usual here in Scotland.   

In fact, investment in the country’s commercial property market has hit a record high with total investments up 46 per cent in 2018 compared to last year.

The recent results were published by property consultants JLL and their research revealed a total of £1.8billion was invested across all sectors of commercial property in Scotland in the first nine months of 2018.

Furthermore, the commercial property market in Scotland has attracted influential investors both locally and internationally this year.

But what of that big, Brexit-shaped elephant in the room?

Research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Accountants (RICS) stated that the commercial property market in Scotland is bucking the so-called ‘Brexit affected trend’ across the UK, primarily through interest in office and industrial sectors.

Why the startling figures? It could be that big acquisitions are taking place now as investors intend to hold off on further deals and evaluate the aftermath of Brexit in 2019.

These strong results in the first three quarters of 2018 prove that investors view Scotland as a solid opportunity and a safe bet for their money. Also, when compared to the rest of the UK, we offer more relative value which is all really encouraging for our economy.

Some of the most significant deals made so far in 2018 include Hines UK acquiring The Mint Building in Edinburgh for £50million and the Atlantic Quay office block in Glasgow which sold for £54.7million to Darin Partners.

Then there’s the higher value acquisitions which includes Glasgow’s SkyPark being sold for £70million to Hermes Real Estate and a 50 per cent share in Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird Retail Park going to M&G Real Estate for a staggering £125million.

Each of these deals will provide resources including Grade A office space, premier retail units, and employment opportunities. Some aren’t just individual multi-storey blocks but almost villages in themselves. Fort Kinnaird Retail Park spans 560,000sq ft and Skypark in Finnieston incorporates six buildings and employs more than 4,000 individuals.

Many of these sales are linked to properties in areas of regeneration, which has a multitude of benefits for local businesses and the economy.

The Scottish Government has a vision for regeneration in Scotland, which is to support disadvantaged communities and promote well-being, and investment of course complements this.

By investors providing funding, it enables regeneration of commercial property units across Scottish cities.

A report commissioned earlier this year by the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) found that the Scottish real estate industry contributes almost £4.8billion to the economy.

Looking closer at the study, it can be concluded that commercial property, specifically the construction element, has a direct impact of approximately £2.4billion on the economy. The same study estimated that the commercial property industry in Scotland was responsible for sustaining almost 50,000 full time jobs.

What’s more encouraging is that there is potential for growth and this report proposed that for an increase in output to the sum of £100million, the economy could benefit from a further £73million.

I guess we’ll just need to wait and see what the impact of Brexit will have on future investment for commercial property, but for now at least, Scotland can reap the benefits of this record year.



It was great to see a Scottish venue emerging from the pack and galloping away with a prestigious UK-wide award for "excellence and innovation" in customer experience.

The team at Hamilton Park Racecourse are proudly celebrating after being crowned Showcase Champion at a prestigious racing awards ceremony held at Aintree.

It’s the first time the Lanarkshire venue has bagged the top award and came after it was nominated in more categories than any other UK course. Certainly a huge achievement when up against world famous courses such as Ascot and Cheltenham.

Scotland has a rich history of horse racing, spanning over 900 years, with five courses currently operating throughout the country including Perth, Kelso, Musselburgh, Ayr and UK winners Hamilton Park.

Behind the scenes and away from the racetrack, I was surprised to learn of just how much work Scottish racecourses do for the local economy and community.

Hamilton Park Racecourse alone actively engages with its local school community to broaden students’ knowledge of the racing industry.

It goes beyond just sporting occasions to forge longstanding relationships with charities, whilst other racecourses provide work placements and experience for those keen to get into hospitality, ground keeping, marketing and sales.

Scottish racecourses are major employers during the race season, helping to support local communities, and with Hamilton Park welcoming over 50,000 spectators through the gates this year alone, it shows that horse racing is neigh laughing matter to many.

Well done to the team at Hamilton Park Racecourse for picking up this win. I’m sure they will be jockeying for the top award again next year.



I had to laugh at some hilarious pictures which emerged from the new Victoria’s Secret in Glasgow last week.

Images circulated through various social media channels, showing a number of awkwardly huddled men standing outside the store, braving the elements as their other halves shopped inside.

Glaswegian guys are known for their gallous, cheeky attitude, so one might assume it was tourists who were feeling a little shy when faced with the largest lingerie department in the city.

Luckily, Buchanan Galleries has been on hand to provide a little welcome ‘support’ – with umbrellas, free cups of coffee, and teas given out to those who would rather stand in the wind and rain than go into the store with their significant others.

Bra-vo! It tickled me pink.



I hate seeing any business being wound up.

Think of all the hard work that goes into getting a company off the ground – the blood, sweat and tears – before it then falls unceremoniously by the wayside. It’s heart-breaking.

However, with Berketex the wedding dress shop ceasing trading, it was not only the owners’ dreams that were dashed.

Brides across Scotland, who have purchased dresses and put down deposits in the Glasgow and Edinburgh stores, have been left high and dry in the run-up to what was meant to be the best day of their lives.


I hope that something can be done for all of the brides-to-be who have spent their hard-earned money, and probably a large part of the wedding budget, on their dream dress.  

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