Building could get extra floor to tackle Edinburgh’s office shortage

An artist's impression of the extension to the Semple Street development
An artist's impression of the extension to the Semple Street development
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The developers of a new office block at the heart of the Capital’s financial district are hoping to tackle the city’s chronic shortage of office space by applying to create space to attract a worldwide brand.

GSS Developments has applied to Edinburgh City Council for permission to add an extra floor to their current Semple Street building, which was due to open in July 2018.

Now the firm wants to add an extra 5,000 sq ft sixth floor to their building to keep it in line with other office blocks in Edinburgh’s Exchange District.

Paul Stevenson, GSS Developments director, hopes the new plans will attract a global brand to the city.

Mr Stevenson said: “It is widely accepted there is a dire lack of Grade A office space available to rent in Edinburgh city centre and we are delighted that 2 Semple Street is on schedule to be the only development to be ready for occupation next year.

“We are seeking permission to add an extra floor as a direct consequence of market demands and to be able to provide a first-class fit-for-purpose office building capable of attracting a quality tenant who will make a significant contribution to Edinburgh’s economic and social fabric.

“It has become increasingly clear that a number of businesses looking to move in to Edinburgh or to relocate within the city require a footprint of 40,000 sq ft or more and we are responding to that demand.

“The City of Edinburgh Council was very supportive of our post-purchase design improvements to provide a better floor plate and enhanced stone elevations. With the current need to increase availability of Grade A office space within the financial district, we hope the city council will maintain that positive approach and see the value in extending the fifth floor glass box to be over two floors.

“We recognise that this is unusual, given that we are onsite and construction is under way, but we believe that this innovative proposition provides a time-sensitive opportunity to create much needed floor space.”

Angela Lowe, senior director at joint letting agent CBRE, said: “An extra 5000 sq ft may not sound a lot but in a city where there is a lack of floor space it makes a significant 
difference in securing a broader range of tenants. Increasing the floor space will enhance the flexibility of the building and follows the example set by a number of other high-profile developments within the financial centre.”

The current development is due to be complete in July next year and if consent for the extension is granted expected to be complete in October.