CBRE advises on the acquisition of Exchange Place One, Edinburgh

Leading real estate advisor CBRE has announced it acted on behalf of CBRE Investment Management UK Property PAIF to acquire Exchange Place One, a Grade A office building on Semple Street in Edinburgh. The vendor is Macquarie Asset Management.

The property comprises 114,748 sq ft of office space spread over ground and five upper floors, a basement car park and one ancillary retail unit. The space offers impressive views of Edinburgh Castle, good floor-to-ceiling heights and high levels of natural light, as well as large, flexible floor plates of 20,000 sq ft.

Located in Edinburgh’s Exchange quarter, four floors of Exchange Place One are occupied by Blackrock; other occupiers include Hymans Robertson, Cundalls, Cameron Hume and Evans Cycles.

Alistair Wright, Director at CBRE Scotland, who handled the purchase on behalf of CBRE Investment Management, said: “It is great news that we have managed to secure an off-market purchase of this well-known Grade A office building in a rarely available location in Edinburgh for CBRE Investment Management.

“The acquisition of Exchange Place One, which currently has a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating, provides the Fund with a unique opportunity to create a best-in-class office building that meets strong market demand for sustainable, central office space with large floorplates. The exciting plans for the asset include a comprehensive internal refurbishment with significant focus on improving the building’s ESG credentials that will include a full decarbonisation strategy.

“The Fund will be making a substantial investment showing that despite the pandemic there continues to be strong interest for high quality assets in the right locations.”

Currently, the Edinburgh office market dynamics are highly favourable, with the Grade A city-centre vacancy rate at just 2.2%, reflecting a constrained supply and strong demand for high-quality office accommodation.

Jamie Phillips, Fund Manager of the CBRE UK Property PAIF at CBRE Investment Management, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to acquire a Grade A office building in a fantastic location. Edinburgh is a vibrant city and its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site places certain constraint on future commercial development within the city. This is in part underpinning the undersupply of Grade A stock, which is at its lowest levels for 20 years. Exchange Place One has impressive floor plates, which can be hard to come by in Edinburgh. Our business plan is focused on taking the building to the next level, creating a top-quality office building that gives Edinburgh’s corporate occupiers a sense of place and the strong sustainability credentials that tenants are quite rightly demanding.”

CBRE acted for CBRE Investment Management whilst Avison Young represented the vendor, Macquarie Asset Management.