Green Investment Bank: Three sites emerge as favourites in the search for Edinburgh HQ

Michael Moore with other key members of the GIB bid
Michael Moore with other key members of the GIB bid
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THE search is on for a high-profile site in the Capital to be the headquarters of the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) after Edinburgh was picked to host the new institution.

Three city-centre locations have already emerged as favourites, though there is also pressure for Edinburgh Park to be considered.

The bank, expected to be set up later this year, will use public money to help fund green projects in a bid to attract private investment. Experts have said it will put the Capital at the heart of a new “tiger economy” of green energy.

Although the HQ will be in Edinburgh, the GIB’s main transaction and project financing teams will be based in London.

Around 50 to 70 full-time equivalent jobs will be created between the two cities, but it is not clear how many will be in the Capital to start with.

The Business Innovation and Skills department would only say it expected to “build up” to half the staff being in Edinburgh “over time”. The decision on exactly where the HQ will go in Edinburgh will be up to the GIB’s board, which is in the process of being appointed.

Edinburgh’s bid to host the bank identified ten potential properties across the city, but the likely shortlist is understood to include Waverleygate in Princes Street, Quartermile in Lauriston Place and Exchange Place in Fountainbridge.

City council economic development convener Tom Buchanan said: “I’d like to see somewhere prominent in the city where it can be a good advertisement.”

Graham Birse, policy director of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said the ten sites highlighted as part of the bid had been chosen for their green credentials.

He said: “All these buildings have features which would be appropriate for an organisation with a low carbon footprint.”

Edinburgh West Lib Dem MSP Mike Crockart said Lochside View in Edinburgh Park would be an “ideal” location because of access to air, rail and road connections. But one source said it was seen as being “too far out”.

Edinburgh North & Leith Labour MP, Mark Lazarowicz, said Leith should also be considered because it was a focus for the growing renewables sector.

The GIB will start off with a fund of £3 billion but will not be able to borrow more money until 2015. Green campaigners have argued it needs full borrowing and lending powers from day one. Sue Charman, of WWF, said: “The current proposals that the bank won’t be able to borrow until 2015 riskhindering urgent and much-needed investment in green jobs and technologies.”

TEN GREEN POSSIBLES

Waverleygate, Princes Street

Quartermile, Lauriston Place

Exchange Place, Fountainbridge

The Cube, Leith Street

Westport, Grassmarket

Tanfield, Canonmills

Saltire Court, Castle Terrace

Edinburgh Quay 2, Exchange

Fusion, Logie Green Road

Lochside View, Edinburgh Park