Soaring development reflects city’s strength
The level of demand for office space in Aberdeen has rocketed.
The amount of class four office (at least 500 square metres) developments completed, under construction, and granted detailed planning consent in 2013 was significantly higher than in 2012.
The city's planning authority granted detailed planning consent for 81,146 square metres of class four office space in 2013; 103,409sq m was under construction; and 11,474 sq m was completed. In comparison, 2012 saw detailed planning consent granted for 11,520sq m of office space; 67,990 sq m were under construction; and 3,225 sq m was completed.
Council leader Barney Crockett said: "There is no doubt that Aberdeen is booming. The city is seeing incredible levels of investment and development from the UK and beyond. We've recorded the UK's highest level of business increases, are second only to London for new business start-ups, and are experiencing some of the UK's fastest growth in private sector jobs.
"Rapid progress is being made on the business parks, which are quickly attracting new tenants many of them very big players on the business stage. The city centre is also proving popular, with some very significant developments planned for the area. There is a soaring demand for office space and it is clear that the opportunities offered here are unrivalled elsewhere in Britain and many parts of Europe."
Major office developments in Aberdeen city centre have been noticeable by their absence in recent years. However, a number of very large city centre schemes received planning permission in 2013, including Triple Kirks (6,750 sq m) and the former Capital Cinema on Union Street (9,180 sq m).
A significant proportion of the new office floorspace is being built on the large new business parks on the edge of the city. However, Aberdeen's established business and industrial areas are also seeing considerable activity and several more projects are planned for the city centre.
Established business areas remain popular, evidenced by the developments taking place at Altens, Pitmedden, and Kirkhill industrial estates. Several very large schemes are underway or planned for the up-and-coming North Dee Business District, just south of Union Square, while a number of schemes, including the proposed Marischal Square development, are in the pipeline for the city centre.
Demand for hotel developments also remains high, with 294 new bedrooms in class seven developments (at least 10 new bedrooms) completed last year, compared to none in 2012. One hundred and sixty eight bedrooms are under construction, and detailed planning consent granted for a further 384. Two more hotels are planned for the ABZ business park, and construction work has begun on a 148-bedroom hotel at the Prime Four business park. Work has also begun on serviced apartments on the upper levels of the Athenaeum building, while the former Bruce Millers building is being redeveloped to create a nine-storey, 134-bedroom hotel with a rooftop restaurant. Almost 400 additional bedrooms have planning permission which has yet to be implemented. A four-star hotel is planned for the Marischal Square development in the heart of the city centre, and an eight storey, 92 bedroom extension is planned for the Station Hotel on Guild Street.
Planning development management convener Councillor Ramsay Milne said: "The number of major development applications being handed by the planning and sustainable development team is incredible. Officers are working closely with developers to ensure that their plans comply with the local planning guidelines and fit with the Local Development and Structure Plans, and that their proposals are suitable for Aberdeen.
"This city is well and truly open for business, which is clearly demonstrated not only by the level of inquiries and planning applications being received by the planning authority, but also by the amount of construction work which is getting under way very quickly after planning consent has been granted. Businesses want to be operating here, which is great news for Aberdeen."