25th August 2014 back to news

Scotsman Article

Slow but Steady Progress


Without any shadow of a doubt, the commercial property market has not recovered to pre-2008 levels, but evidence continues to emerge that the sector is reviving, with investment now seen as a key area for growth.


For instance, Graham + Sibbald Investment Department has just announced an “extremely successful” first half of 2014. Over the past six months, the firm has transacted £30.7 million of stock across a range of property sectors, and there is a further £4m-worth of retail and office deals in the pipeline.


This represents a 24 percent increase in the volume of the previous six-monthly high of £28m achieved last year.


Sandy Gilmour, investment specialist at Graham + Sibbald, says: “A notable transaction was the sale of the Quintiles research and development facility within Livingston’s Alba Campus. This sale marked the end of an eight-year involvement for Graham + Sibbald having acquired the site, secured planning consent for 114,000 sq ft office and industrial facility, and negotiating the pre-let to Quintiles. The sale was concluded in June to Ambassador Group at a price in excess of £20m.”


In addition to the increasing transaction volume, Graham + Sibbald has been brought in by a UK fund to provide investment and agency advice on a number of high-profile acquisitions, totalling around £75m on various opportunities in Aberdeen. Gilmour adds: “The firm’s extensive local office net-word, couples with its growing national investment business allows Graham + Sibbald to provide a high-quality advice to clients.” As a result of this increase in business, the firm has recently appointed Graeme Millar to work within the National Investment Department, having spent his previous seven years working across the Commercial Agency and Professional Department in Edinburgh.


Millar said: “I am delighted to begin working within the Investment Department at this early stage and look forward to participating in the future growth of this specialist team and developing my own client base over time.”


Les McAndrew, managing partner, Graham + Sibbald, says: “The investment business has gained momentum over the past two and a half years and forms a vital part of our strategy for growth. The partnership felt it was appropriate to bring Graeme into the team at the early stages of his own and the team’s development.” Such investment confidence was particularly non-existent in Scotland’s commercial property sector two or three years ago. The situation is really improving.

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