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Marischal Square defies critics at 75% occupancy

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The multi award-winning Marischal Square development in Aberdeen is 75% let just over two years after construction work ended for the £107 million project.

Office space take-up for the two-tower complex to date suggests it is on track to achieve 100% occupancy later this year, defying critics who opposed the scheme and claimed it would become an expensive “white elephant”.

US oil giant Chevron is the latest company to announce plans to relocate to Marischal Square. The firm has confirmed it will base its global technology centre and other staff on level three of 2MSq.

Chevron’s move follows the sale of its North Sea assets to Ithaca Energy in November. Ithaca took on Chevron’s former base at Hill of Rubislaw in Aberdeen.

Professional services firms EY and KPMG both announced moves to Marischal Square last year, and there are now more than 1,000 people working across the various businesses on site.

EY, energy services firm Tenaris and Royal Bank of Scotland are all in 2MSq, on floors four, five and six respectively. Tenants in 1MSq include Aberdeen Journals, KPMG, flexible workspace provider Spaces and the NHS. There is also a 126-bedroom hotel on the site, the Residence Inn by Marriott, and ground-floor retail units occupied by Costa Coffee, All Bar One, Prezzo, Mackie’s 19.2 and Tony Macaroni.

Stephen Turner, regional director, Scotland, at Marischal Square developer Muse Developments, said: “Chevron’s decision to relocate to Marischal Square represents another significant step towards delivering full occupancy.

“From the outset we believed we had created some of the most attractive and compelling commercial space available in the city.

“The calibre of businesses that have chosen to relocate here is testament to the vision of Aberdeen City Council and a commitment to excellence that has attracted world-class companies to the city centre. We continue to have solid inquiries and interest in the remaining office space.”

Award-winning complex leading city’s office market renaissance

Marischal Square was delivered by Muse Developments in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aviva Investors.

It has won a raft of prestigious accolades, including the regeneration project of the year title at last year’s Scottish Property Awards.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said Chevron’s decision to join the throng of big names making Marischal Square their home “demonstrates that we have created a class-leading office development in the heart of the city that is attractive to global businesses”.

She added: “This area has been reinvigorated and the mix of grade-A office space, leisure facilities and high-quality hotel accommodation… allows people to work and relax in equal measure, and helps boost the economy of the north-east.”

Commercial property expert Dan Smith, head of office in Aberdeen for Savills, said: “We are seeing improved occupier confidence, evidenced by Aberdeen-wide office take-up of about 513,500sq ft for 2019 – the strongest year-end figures for five years.

“The majority of demand continues to be focused around well-located, highly specified space and Marischal Square is testament to this.”

But Marischal Square would never have been built if critics of the scheme had succeeded in their campaign to stop it going ahead.

More than 4,000 people signed an online petition calling for the plans for it to be rejected in favour of more green space.

Campaigners feared the development would destroy views of Marischal College and Provost Skene’s House, and affect retailing on Union Street.

Aberdeen Central SNP MSP Kevin Stewart accused the then Labour-led council of pushing on with a scheme that was “about as popular as a visit by King Herod to the Bethlehem nursery”.

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