Edinburgh

TFT Edinburgh at 5: revitalising Scotland’s capital city

TFT’s Edinburgh office is celebrating its fifth birthday with a difference. The office bash might have to wait for another year, but we’re looking back on some of our favourite projects to date, and the big things which lay ahead.

First up is Neil Wotherspoon, Partner and head of Edinburgh, to talk to us about the St James Quarter development we’re monitoring for Nuveen. It’s making an impact already and is set to be a breath of fresh air for Scotland’s capital.

“Looking back on the journey of our Edinburgh office is deeply personal to me. Since I opened the office in 2015, our team, our work and our client list has grown and diversified a great deal. We’ve gone from strength to strength to offer our specialist services to incredible clients in Scotland and across the rest of the UK and Europe.

One project in particular has come to define my relationship with the city itself, personally and professionally: the St James Quarter development which I am monitoring on behalf of our clients Nuveen and APG. In fact, we were expecting two great parties as a St James Quarter milestone and our office birthday coincided in October. But for now at least we’ll make do with a visit to the Zoom Pub!

I moved to Edinburgh in 1998, so I know the St James Quarter site has always had a challenging place in the city. I don’t recall the old office space ever being occupied and the shopping centre was a short-cut rather than a destination. Yet, the site took up a large part of the east of Edinburgh. St James Quarter will completely change that. I’m not sure whether many residents appreciate the full scale of the new development, so I hope they will be surprised by all it contains, and how it will open up that part of the city. The incredible views will also show the city in a new way, and not just for the residential apartments and W Edinburgh guests. Towards Leith Street at level 5 there will be a publicly available courtyard with great views over Carlton Hill.

I think the structure itself it also going to help people move around the city differently. For instance, oddly Edinburgh has a limited selection of covered public areas to seek refuge from the Scottish weather. But the St James Quarter galleria roof will provide that sheltered street feel and build a great atmosphere too. You may have already seen some of the unique design features, but I think the lighting design is going to be really impressive in the galleria and on the W Hotel. Without getting in to the specification, I can say that these interactive, responsive and unique designs will be a first for visitors, unlike anything else in Scotland.

I can’t say that this year is everything I wanted for our fifth birthday celebrations. But even in these tough times I believe there’s an awful lot to be positive about. When SJQ opens in Spring 2021 it will begin a major positive change for the city itself, boosting not only the local economy but also the lives of residents and visitors alike.”

Read more about the transformation going on at Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, here.

TFT Edinburgh at 5: scaling the Cairngorms and court

TFT’s Edinburgh office is celebrating its fifth birthday with a difference. The office bash might have to wait for another year, but we’re looking back on some of our favourite projects to date, and the big things which lay ahead.

Jon Rowling, Technical Partner in our Edinburgh office, tells us about surveying in the Cairngorms and resolving legal disputes.

This was most definitely the highest I have been when carrying out inspections, which weren’t helped by the deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.  I nearly lost the tips of my fingers because, as an aspiring urbane surveyor, I slightly forgot that gloves would be important.  Certainly the best views though above the clouds, and feeling of being on top of the world.  As ever inspecting different types of buildings, one is always drawn also to understand what goes on there and how it all operates.  In this case there was a railway, a mountain rescue post, conservation, skiing, catering and retail all to be considered.  This is one inspection that I won’t forget.

Acting as a ‘court reporter’ for the Outer House, considering a dilapidations dispute in Glasgow:

A court reporter is appointed by the court to provide technical expertise when the case before the court is fundamentally a question of expert opinion.  As always with these disputes, significant time has passed since the evidence on site was available to review so it becomes a question of reviewing the (not insignificant) bundles of documents, and then expressing a reasoned opinion as to the various liabilities.  As often occurs though, much of the difference between the parties is a matter of legal interpretation and so the reporter is allowed to question to court on the correct legal approach.  In this case, the main issue was one of ‘supersession’.  I’m sure all dilapidations surveyors would like clarity from a court as to the correct way to deal with supersession.  Fingers crossed we find out.

I’ve also acted as arbitrator in dilapidations disputes.  The arbitrator receives evidence from the parties, considers it and publishes a binding ‘Award’ that sets out the resolution of the dispute.  Arbitration of dilapidations disputes is a growing area in Scotland and is something TFT is proud to contribute to.  Indeed, we have published a set of Dilapidations Arbitration Rules for Scotland, which we hope will aid parties who are considering this form of ADR.

Find out more about Alternative Dispute Resolution and how our teams can help you use it to your advantage.

TFT votes to support local causes

In January, we were happy to ring in the New Year by giving everybody at TFT an extra day of leave to help a charity of their choice. Now, we are deepening our commitment to the local communities of each office around the country, with each office voting on local charities close to their homes and hearts, to support beyond the day job.

Each of our 7 offices in the UK (Bristol, Cardiff, Guildford, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh) have chosen their two local charities in hope to give back to the communities they value the most. Typically, local charities are often in need of extra feet on the ground, so we hope this will also encourage more volunteering opportunities for each office.

While local charities benefit from personal involvement of local people, our teams will also see the impact of their contributions first hand.  

We want to be part of the bigger picture, helping to improve local environments and economies. Not only do local charities employ locally, encouraging personal interactions, but they also contribute to the growth and improvement of the direct community around us. As this community around us grows, we see significant and visible results enhancing overall wellbeing (Guardian, 2014).

Chris Keates-Lewis, Head of HR, said:

“This is an exciting direction for us, bringing our offices together in a TFT global effort to improve the lives of those closest to us, and the environment in which we enjoy our lives.”

The chosen charities include:

London: Bankside Open Spaces and Coram’s Fields

Guildford: Challengers and Macmillan Surrey

Bristol: St Peter’s Hospice and The West of England MS Therapy Centre

Cardiff: The Wallich and Ty Hafan

Birmingham: Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and Zoe’s Place

Manchester: Wood Street Mission and 42nd Street

Edinburgh: The Cystic Fibrosis trust and Staffie Smiles.

TFT will also continue to support LionHeart and LandAid as their chosen national charities.

Scottish property: foundations for growth

2019 promises exciting developments for Scotland’s property market, off the back of multiple findings suggesting the region’s potential for investment and development.

Scottish property outperformed its five-year average in 2018, as commercial investment reached £2.5bn thanks to increased involvement by some big UK funds and continued high interest by overseas investors. Mid-year, Scotland was found to be the best performing market in the UK, growing by 5.6% compared to Wales’ 4.4% and England’s 3.7% growth over the same period.

The upshot of increased investment is a set of development projects which look to usher in a new era for Scottish urban life. Cultural centres, retail units and residential property are all springing up to meet a demand for a higher standard of amenities in the region. This is especially true for major centres like Edinburgh, in which ambition and performance of building projects currently underway could set a precedent for future development around the country.

Two years of progress on the TFT monitored Edinburgh St James development

The highest profile of these is the Edinburgh St James redevelopment. Located in the heart of Scotland’s capital, between Calton Hill and St Andrew Square, the project has an opportunity to combine culture and commerce for the benefit of occupants and visitors, driving the long-term success of owners and investors.

The scheme comprises a world-class retail, leisure, hotel and residential offer, including Scotland’s first W Hotel, first boutique Everyman Cinema, a flagship John Lewis department store and 150 apartments offering unrivalled amenities and views across the city.

TFT’s role as Project Monitors on Edinburgh St James is to ensure the planning, design and construction of the development proceeds by resolving challenges at an early stage and by protecting the budget and timescale of the work. In major works like this, that role is crucial given extensive excavation and replacement of existing infrastructure in and around the site, and working around an open department store – John Lewis – without disruption.

And it’s not just retail, leisure and residential sites which are pointing towards growth. TFT’s Edinburgh office is working on a combined 376,705 square feet of major office schemes on behalf of Legal and General in in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The skills to navigate these challenges will only be more in demand as development continues around Scotland – whether it’s in a busy city centre, redeveloping older sites, or breaking ground in a new site, careful management of the project will be crucial to maximising its success.

On a recent site visit, we saw the major changes afoot, and the new St James centre taking shape. With Scotland’s national growth also looking strong for the future, we’re excited to guide subsequent works that drive its success.

Edinburgh Overview

TFT Scotland advises commercial property investors, owners and occupiers wishing to acquire, dispose and manage property in Scotland. Our team includes highly motivated and skilled building surveyors who provide professional advice and guidance.

View

The Role of Property in Delivering Edinburgh’s Economic Potential

‘The role of property in delivering Edinburgh’s economic potential’, the latest research by ThinkBarn commissioned by TFT, makes it clear that the continued economic evolution of Edinburgh depends on the city’s ability to deliver continued improvements in productivity and growth.

New research paper charts Edinburgh’s continued economic evolution

TFT’s latest research paper – ‘The role of property in delivering Edinburgh’s economic potential’ – is published today.

In common with cities across the globe, Edinburgh is seeing economic change brought about by the continued evolution in the interrelated areas of technology, corporate structures and working practices. The paper considers how the very particular characteristics of Edinburgh make it well placed to capitalise on these global forces of economic change. It also highlights how success depends on delivering scale and how Edinburgh’s commercial property market must deliver this scale if the city is to keep pace with the pressures of economic success.

View

TFT Edinburgh makes first promotion to partner on first anniversary

Neil Wotherspoon from TFT’s Edinburgh office has been promoted to Technical Partner. TFT Edinburgh was launched 12 months ago by Neil who joined TFT from AECOM. Since that time, the team has grown fourfold serving clients in Edinburgh and across Scotland and the North East of England including Screwfix, Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland and Aviva Investors.

Alan Pemberton, Managing Partner, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor, said:

Neil’s promotion is well-deserved. He not only launched TFT Edinburgh but has seen its client base grow, expanded the team and increased our presence in Edinburgh’s strong commercial property market. One of Neil’s major strengths is his high-level client servicing that works alongside strong technical capability. It’s a pleasure to see this promotion come about only one year after his appointment.

Neil Wotherspoon, Technical Partner, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor, said:

With a robust construction sector and a fast-paced transactional market, Scotland is in a healthy position to capitalize on this type of market. I’m delighted to be continuing to play my part in TFT’s success here in Edinburgh.