How the Waterfront Regeneration is changing the commercial property market in Dundee: NovaLoca speak to Adam Hutcheson of Westport Property
NovaLoca recently interviewed with Adam Hutcheson of Westport Property; a modern RICS regulated property surveyors practice based in Dundee, Scotland. Adam said, “It has been a very busy year, with a huge upturn in both transactions and interest from the tenant market.”
When asked if he knew of any trends which may have increased tenant interest in the market, Adam responded “tenants are making decisions quickly as there is a positive perception that property uptake is now back on track and there is a limited stock of available property.”
NovaLoca were interested to find out what is happening in Dundee to see a recent increase in transactions within the commercial property market. Adam confirmed the market has a “very strong and extremely positive outlook for the future.” He believes that much of this is “due to Dundee’s Waterfront Regeneration and the V&A.” Westport Property currently has multiple retail and office opportunities that they are marketing in the heart of the Waterfront zone.
What does the Waterfront Regeneration involve?
The Award Winning Dundee Waterfront, which spans 240 hectares of land stretching 8km along the River Tay, is currently undergoing a £1 billion transformation. The regeneration is a “strategic, focussed and forward-looking project that is propelling the city to international acclaim.” The project is the 3rd largest regeneration project in the UK and covers the following five zones: Riverside; Seabraes (The Braes); Central Waterfront (The Front); City Quay (The Quay) and Dundee Port (The Port).
What is the Waterfront Regeneration doing to positively impact the commercial property market in Dundee?
The £1 billion redevelopment is hoped to put Dundee on the map in cultural and business terms. According to Scottish Property Now, the project “has already impacted on Dundee’s economy” and “Dundee has been placed on the map as a result”.
A large part of the plan is to open the V&A Museum of Design which will be the first ever design museum to be built in the UK outside London. This has led to two major luxury hotel developments and is expected to attract 500,000 visitors in its first year of opening with 300,000 per year after that.
What will the V&A Museum of Design bring to Dundee?
In September 2014 BAM Construction was appointed as the preferred bidder for the building designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Funding has been taken from public and private donations which included the Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland, as well as a wide range of charitable trusts.
The galleries will be dedicated to the story of Scotland’s design heritage and will showcase world-class touring exhibitions. According to vandadundee.org, the purpose built galleries are the only in Scotland large enough to show these shows in their entirety. The museum will be the first to run a specific design-led business innovation strand “which will place creativity at the heart of business, be they creative industries, start ups or established multi-nationals.”
The V&A was celebrated alongside the world’s most exciting design innovations at London Design Festival and is due to be open in 2018.
What else will the regeneration project focus on?
Railway Station and Hotel
The station is currently comprised of a Victorian building at platform level and of a 1960’s design for the ticket hall and concourse. The aim of the development of the station is to reflect the importance of Dundee Station which lies on the main East Coast railway line.
Current developments include a replacement for the existing ticket hall and concourse. Planning permission was obtained in 2013 with the aim to maximise the advantages of the stations prime location. The mixed use building will comprise a new concourse area, café facilities and hotel accommodation.
The 1960’s concourse building has already been demolished and construction of the replacement building is expected to commence during Autumn 2015.
The Dundee Waterfront project is split into five distinct development sites, each targeting a different area of the economy and property sectors:
1.Central Waterfront (Residential, Office, and Leisure)
2.City Quay (Residential, Retail, Marina)
3.Seabraes (Digital Media and Creative Industries)
4.The Port (Renewables Manufacturing and Processing)
5.Riverside (Green Space and Leisure)
According to Scottish Policy Now, “the concentration on these areas will be advantageous for the City.” They will create shovel ready lots to accommodate the talent, already abundant in the City, in sectors such as digital media and life sciences and in the nascent renewables space.”
The hope is that this will promote the area for start-up businesses and attract graduates to the city. An action plan has already been put in place for Dundee’s future generations through advising schools on the availability of careers that will match Dundee’s newer industries.
Aside from the regeneration of the Waterfront, what does Westport Property believe is beneficial about running a business in Dundee?
Adam adds, “Aside from it being the sunniest city in the UK, with the friendliest locals, best hospitality and the most fantastic Waterfront; the rents and rates are still comparatively low and the landlords we act for adopt a collaborative approach when negotiating with tenants, which allows transactions to move forward in a really positive way.”