Greenock’s historic Custom House moves to full occupancy as it welcomes bright, new architectural practice

Riverside Inverclyde’s (Ri) marquee Custom House property in Greenock has welcomed its newest tenant, a growing young architecture practice, and is now fully let.

Nicholson McShane Architects (NMA) has taken the last remaining 650 sq ft at the Grade A-listed Custom House, increasing their office floor space by an additional 50% on the practice’s former office accommodation.

The move comes as NMA enters a new chapter of their business development as they look to raise the public profile of the company as one of Inverclyde’s leading Architectural Practices. NMA aims to build upon its core business of domestic, residential and commercial projects by engaging with new clients and larger scale projects, both provincially based and further afield.

Founded in August 2017 by Directors Douglas Nicholson and Paul McShane, NMA relocated to Custom House in March 2019, together with their highly valued and qualified team. The new office now provides an ideal space to accommodate NMA’s increase in size, from a practice of four to six with staff equally motivated and thrilled by the new move.

Douglas Nicholson explained the growth of NMA: “I had worked for since 1999 for Canata & Seggie Architects, latterly as a Director of the company. Paul had worked for several Glasgow practices and also as a sole trader for many years before joining Canata and Seggie in 2016 as a Director.

“We had a vision of starting a new practice in a way that would allow the founders to retire and to provide continued employment for other staff members of Canata and Seggie.”

In addition to domestic extensions and alterations ranging in cost from £20k to £1m, the practice has recently been appointed as architects on a number of housing developments and several commercial developments within the Greenock area.

In purchasing the intellectual property and current job book of its former employers, this has enabled Nicholson McShane Architects to commence trading with little downtime effectively.

Paul added: “It was important to ensure that our existing Clients experienced a continued high level of service amidst the throes of a new business start-up.”

Ri is the organisation delivering the economic regeneration of Inverclyde and hosts a variety of business centres in Gourock, Greenock and Port Glasgow. The six-year, £5m renovation of Custom House is the jewel in the crown of a renaissance that includes the Riverside Business Park and the creation of James Watt Dock Marina.

Andrew Bowman, head of business investment and operations at Ri, said the organisation was delighted to welcome Nicholson McShane to Custom House.

“This bright young practice has been a tenant of Ri’s since it was set up, initially taking space in Ladyburn Business Centre as their first step.

“NMA represents the kind of business which, given the opportunity to take root, can grow and help Inverclyde flourish and Ri is the perfect partner for these types of companies.

“We wish Douglas, Paul and all of the team at NMA continued success at the Custom House.”

Paul McShane added that he and his fellow Director were very comfortable about remaining tenants of Ri.

“We find Ri to be very flexible and accommodating, and quick to respond to any queries we have,” he explained, “It has been a very positive relationship.”

Other businesses based in Custom House include Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions; global paper exporter, PG Paper; fashion clothing line Joules and print specialists, IL Media.