A MAJOR supplier to computer giant Apple has opened a new test centre near the tram line in a move which is being hailed as a sign that the route will prove to be a magnet for new businesses.
One of Europe’s fastest growing computer firms, Stuttgart-based Dialog Semiconductor, has signed a ten-year lease to open its second Edinburgh office in the Sighthill Industrial Estate.
The fact the premises are a five-minute walk from the Bankhead tram stop is said to have been crucial in sealing the deal.
Property investor Iain Mercer – son of former Hearts owner Wallace Mercer – said the deal was a sign that Sighthill and Edinburgh Park were likely to become increasingly important business hubs as a direct result of the much-maligned trams scheme.
Dialog will test components such as microchips for tablets and MP3 players at its new 1200sq ft premises at Birch House in Sighthill. Apple, which is due to open a flagship store in Edinburgh next year, is Dialog’s biggest client.
The German firm is the second major company to let office space there in the last five months, following Hollander International Systems taking 3480sq ft of space on the ground floor of the same block.
Mr Mercer, group managing director of landlord Cosmopolitan Investments, said the close proximity to the tram stop had been the “icing on the cake”.
He said: “We’re dealing with a network that has really been shrouded in controversy for the last few years and people weren’t sure if it was going to be completed. Finally they’ve got their act together over the last six months – that is only generating confidence.
“The tram stop at Bankhead is a five-minute walk from this building and already the occupiers that we have secured have identified that as a very good tool for them in terms of attracting staff and being within 15 minutes of the city centre or ten minutes of the airport.
“Certainly Edinburgh Park and the west Edinburgh office market, which has struggled over the last five or six years, is now seeing something of a resurgence.”
Dialog also has 14,000sq ft of office space at Multrees Walk, off St Andrew Square.
Mr Mercer’s prediction comes on the back of a series of developments being announced for sites near other tram stops, including three hotels near York Place and three supermakets and a hotel in Shandwick Place.
Other cities including Dublin have reported a “tram effect” after opening tram lines.
City transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “It’s great to see developers taking advantage of the benefits that the tram can bring to their businesses. With streets clear of tram works and a passenger service fast approaching, it’s the ideal time to invest in Edinburgh.”