Despite a planning application yet to be submitted, the demolition of Aberdeen’s former city council headquarters has already started with its new £107m office block replacement slated for completion by the summer of 2017.
Fully funded by Aviva Investors, the contract of transforming the St Nicholas House site —and pedestrianising part of the city’s Broad Street — has gone to urban regeneration and property specialist Muse Developments. It’s hoped the scheme will create at least 300 construction jobs and at least 1,500 permanent posts when the full project is complete.
To be renamed Marischal Square the project will include 175,000sq ft of commercial offices and 14,500sq ft of council office space in front of the 469-year-old Provost Skene’s House (above) with another 42,900sq ft of civic space on Broad Street between Marischal College and the Marischal Square site. There are also plans for a four-star, 125-bed hotel, restaurants and parking for 250 cars.
The council’s director of enterprise, planning and infrastructure, Gordon McIntosh, said it was vital that the project balanced the essential commercial requirements of the development with a scheme which would reflect positively on the city in the years to come.
“This site is one of the last remaining significant development areas within Aberdeen city centre. The proposals for the site are exciting and will bring new jobs into the area, significantly boosting the local economy and business growth,” he added.
The city authority appointed Muse as a development partner in May last year. “A key element of this project is that we will be replacing the former 15-storey St. Nicholas House building with new office and commercial buildings that will respect the city’s granite history by being restricted to just seven storeys high,” said the company’s regional director for Scotland, Steve Turner.
“The Marischal Square proposal will create a fitting setting for Marischal College as well as delivering a vibrant new mixed-use development in keeping with Aberdeen’s justifiable position as one of the UK’s leading business destinations,” he added. “It has the potential to make a long-term impact on the local economy and it is vital the city has the right mix of office and commercial space to capitalise on the opportunities that will arise as the city continues to enjoy a significant business boom.”
Under the project’s funding agreement with Aviva Investors, Aberdeen city council will lease the development and receive the rental profits for 35 years. At that time the site and development will transfer into local authority ownership. “Aberdeen’s position as one of the key business locations in Europe will be further enhanced by this outstanding development and the council’s forward thinking outlook will pay dividends for years to come,” said Julian Taylor, head of REaLM Funds at Aviva Investors.