After a stuttering start following its completion and the demise of the original developer - P4 Property Limited - the success of the Vision Building is both tremendously encouraging and emblematic of a marked improvement in the Dundee commercial property market over the last couple of years.
The Vision Building was created following a multi-million pound redevelopment of a former jute mill at Seabraes, close to the heart of Dundee city centre.
Isle of Man based BE International Limited bought the Vision Building in mid 2013, at which time only around 16.5% of the 101,207 sq ft building was occupied. BE appointed Ryden and Graham & Sibbald as their joint letting agents, and occupancy has increased to around 84%, with more still to come.
The original occupiers, computer game developers Ruffian Games, remain in occupation, whilst fellow computer games company, Outplay, and software company, LogicNow, have both extended into additional space.
NEoN took a lease of 6,848 sq ft for in the summer of 2014 and was quickly followed by Chartered Accountants Henderson Loggie, which decided on Vision when it relocated its headquarters from Royal Exchange House in the city’s Panmure Street in autumn of 2014. Henderson Loggie now occupies in excess of 16,000 sq ft and has been joined by Kobojo which opened a 5,668 sq ft computer game development studio in early 2015, and Dundee Comic School which took 3,787 sq ft in summer of 2015.
According to Andy Boal of Ryden the recent success of the Vision Building, as well as the likes of River Court at DundeeOne, can be seen as symbolic of an upturn in Dundee’s fortunes. He says that: ‘Dundee’s office market has been gradually modernising for the past 20 years, moving from a predominance of old un-refurbished buildings to purpose-built modern offices. That regeneration process is only partially complete but the proportion of modern office space in the city has improved greatly since the 1990s.
Mr Boal points out that ‘the choice of high quality premises in Dundee is limited and no new development is currently committed. Take up data shows a distinct preference for quality modern space, but only a very small percentage of Dundee’s available office stock is Grade A’.
Looking forward, Mr Boal is in optimistic mode: ‘Although the office market experienced a significant setback during the recession, the underlying trend has been one of steady expansion since 2000. Most recently, healthy demand for smaller office premises has crept up the size range, with occupiers increasingly seeking medium-sized premises and finding that the market offer is very thin.
“Short to medium term projections indicate an ongoing need for modern - and typically centrally located - office space. Rental values are easing back up to pre-recession levels. The Dundee office property market will undoubtedly receive a sustained and significant boost from the ongoing regeneration of the Central Waterfront. We see this area as becoming increasingly important as Dundee continues the process of modernisation to offer the next generation of new office space in order to accommodate growth and compete effectively with other UK regional cities.”