An Aberdeen businessman is “seriously considering” demolishing a massive, empty industrial unit in the city after receiving a business rates bill of more than £100,000.
Carlton Rock boss Alan Massie called for a planned revaluation of business rates to be brought forward to 2021 and raised fears that many firms were beginning to see the Granite City as “too expensive to do business”.
The millionaire faces a £106,812 annual bill for his now-vacant warehouse building on the city’s Hareness Road, which he said results in a monthly bill of nearly £12,000 a month when utilities are included.
Aberdeen has had many large buildings vacated and demolished following the downturn in the oil and gas industry with many firms also complaining that rising business rates had been a factor.
Bridge of Don’s Silverburn House office block was recently demolished while, in 2017, when the rates crisis erupted, a modern three-storey block was torn down in Dyce.
The huge harbour-side Salvesen Tower, once valued at £5m, was sold for just £20,000 last October after struggling to attract tenants.
Mr Massie said the unit had been empty for over a year since the previous tenants vacated and he is considering adding the Harness Road site to the list of casualties.
He said: “With our water, electricity and gas along with the rates, I’m paying about £12,000 a month for the place and we are now seriously considering demolishing it.
“We are out of step with England where the chancellor brought forward the revaluation, but the Scottish Government doesn’t understand the damage to business in Aberdeen.
“It used to be the way to build things on spec, where you didn’t know if you would make any money. Now we just can’t take that risk and in fact buildings are being demolished.
“I worry that other firms will see Aberdeen as a place that’s too expensive to do business and we need help now.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We accepted the independent Barclay Review’s recommendation that there should be three yearly revaluations from 2022, with valuations based on market conditions on a date one year prior.
“Any revaluation ahead of 2022 would not allow full implementation of these reforms to improve data collection, improve the appeals system or allow for the majority of appeals against 2017 revaluation to be settled.
“These reforms will lead to better information-sharing between ratepayers and assessors to enable valuations to be better informed and less likely to be appealed, and time to allow the various administrative and cultural changes to be introduced.”