Leeds-based Citivale’s pioneering 7Hills joint venture development in Edinburgh with Peveril Securities has received a significant boost with the news that Edinburgh Napier University is to build a £3 million research and development centre there.
The university is taking 17,840 sq ft of quality development land for a low carbon construction research and development facility.
James Appleton-Metcalfe, managing director of Leeds-based Citivale, said: “7Hills Business Park is a joint venture between Citivale, the property development and asset management company, and developer Peveril Securities. Named after the seven hills that surround Edinburgh, it is a superbly well-located business park with huge potential.
“The decision by Edinburgh Napier University to locate its pioneering £3 million low carbon construction research and development facility here is a resounding endorsement of 7Hills and confirms the demand in the Edinburgh city region for top quality business space.
“It also gives us the confidence to potentially develop further industrial units, which would be some of the first to be built in Edinburgh since the downturn,” said Mr Appleton-Metcalfe.
“7Hills fits in perfectly with Citivale’s ethos of buying well-located assets and using our skills and knowledge to reposition them through comprehensive refurbishment and further development.
“We strongly believe that the lack of availability of quality industrial space and development land in west Edinburgh will make 7Hills extremely popular with potential occupiers. It is already attracting serious interest.”
The joint venture bought 7Hills earlier this year. It is located on Bankhead Crossway South on the western side of Edinburgh close to the city by-pass.
7Hills already comprises 40,372 sq ft of quality modern industrial and hybrid unit space, but the joint venture is planning to build a further 82,000 sq ft of high quality, multi-let industrial units on the park. Space in the units will range from 5,000 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft, depending on the needs of occupiers.
The university is paying £8 per sq ft for its new research centre on a ten-year lease. The centre will open in April next year.
The centre will focus on construction innovation, wood science and offsite construction. The investment builds on the recent Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the university’s award -winning applied research into sustainable construction and timber technologies.
Professor Sean Smith, director of sustainable construction at the university states, said: “Given the significant increase in forest harvesting and new construction activity over the next two decades this facility provides an opportunity to strategically support government, local authorities, housing associations and industry’s ambitions to develop new housing innovations in this area.
“The City of Edinburgh and south east Scotland’s future growth plans will be supported by the R&D for future low energy housing delivering low carbon sustainable solutions”.
Professor Andrea Nolan, vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier, said: “This new research facility demonstrates our commitment to the forestry and construction sectors and will build on our excellent industry linkages and international research partnerships”
Other occupiers in the immediate vicinity include Amazon, Edinburgh Audi, Royal Mail, Screwfix, Topps Tiles, Howden’s, City Electrical Factors, BT, JCB and Autoglass.
Mr Appleton-Metcalfe added: “This is our first joint venture with Peveril Securities, who have an established background in the commercial property market with a track record of delivering large-scale developments across the country.
“Citivale already has a presence in Scotland, following our acquisition of the Dixon Blazes Industrial Estate from CBRE Global Investors for £4.14 million.”
Chris Kirkland of Peveril Securities said: “We are delighted to be working with Citivale. We believe our combined expertise and knowledge of the Scottish commercial property market will ensure that 7Hills will become a premier business park, with first-class facilities and quality occupiers.
“This is our third investment in Edinburgh. We have completed St Andrew’s Square in a joint venture with Standard Life and we have planning approval for a mixed-use hotel and student accommodation development at King’s Stables Road.”