City Plan 2030 – Edinburgh’s Future Office Market

Meeting the needs of the office sector will be a key issue for City Plan 2030. With an estimated 1.85 million square metres of office floor space in Edinburgh, supporting an estimated 123,000 jobs, the office sector is crucial to Edinburgh’s economy.

Our Office Commercial Needs Study shows that although Edinburgh city centre is prominent, there is significant office based economic activity outwith the central area.

Office Space 1.jpg

In addition to high profile headquarters the city has a deep pool of businesses across the size ranges leaning towards smaller organisations. The average office is around 20 years old, mid-urban, comparatively affordable, and is let to a mix of small to medium sized enterprises.

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Between 2013 and 2018 a total of 88,943 square metres of floorspace was completed. Almost 70% was within the city centre. Office Space 5.jpg

Despite the development of new offices there has been a net loss of office floorspace as stock lost to alternative uses has exceeded new development. However the stock has improved, as new purpose-built offices replace older buildings.

Demand is high, particularly in the city centre. There is 538,000 square metres of office development with planning permission but only 10% of this is in the city centre.

Edinburgh’s new-build offices tend to be small, expensive co-working spaces, or large, expensive headquarters. However, most the city’s office market is ‘mid-market’ in terms of location, quality, size and cost. The continuing loss of traditional offices further reduces the supply available to that mid-market.

It is projected that over the period 2019 to 2030 Edinburgh will need between 17,000 and 30,000 square metres of net office space annually to meet demand. This could imply a land area similar to a major business park.

The study points towards the need to identify city centre locations for development or redevelopment, capture the potential of off-centre office locations and meet the needs and demands of the city’s large mid-market.

For the City Plan 2030, we have also been looking at shopping and leisure, visitor accommodation and business and industry. All the City Plan 2030 commercial needs studies are available to view here.

And in addition to these studies we annually monitor several development types across Edinburgh including, office, industry, retail, hotels, leisure, and student accommodation. Reports on each of these areas are available here.

The timetable for preparing City Plan 2030 and details on how you can get involved is set out in the development plan scheme.

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