Energising and Accommodating the “New Frontier”

October 28, 2021

Activity continues in Aberdeen’s industrial property market and FG Burnett remain at the fore, having effected several significant deals throughout 2021. I am delighted to lead a very active team who have been involved in many of the most significant industrial property transactions this year!

Across the board, we have represented our clients in deals involving a total floor area in excess of 150,000 sq.ft, nearly 50% of all space transacted in the first half of 2021.

So what is driving the continued interest in industrial property? Is it people just moving around looking for better deals or positioning – or is that transitioning – for the renewable, net zero new frontier?

The answer is probably a bit of both. Over the years I have often said that “traditional” industries will always need shed space to carry on their operations and that will continue for the foreseeable future. Sustainable demand will be largely consistent and proportionate with the size and needs of the local population and regional catchment that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire sustains. Companies will expand or contract and move on as business streams and trends dictate!

The view of the experts is that the windfall of North Sea oil and gas is past its peak with renewables and net zero now taking up residence in the machinations of both Scottish and UK politics. We wait with bated breath to see what is said and perhaps more importantly what is not said at COP26. There is no doubt as part of the wider energy mix, Aberdeen has the human skills and expertise and potential to provide the infrastructure, knowledge and experience to capture the lion’s share of relevant renewable and net zero business and become (again!) a centre of excellence – let’s hope there is a legacy for the next generation.

I think there is momentum, a bandwagon even that people are jumping on, even though they don’t really know where or when the carbon zero journey ends.  It is a crusade no one wants to miss out on and industrial property in all shapes and sizes will be required to accommodate and facilitate operators in the sector and the supply chain – let’s hope there is wind in the turbines of progress rather than a drift towards the doldrums. Like every paradox, striking a balance on energy is required but positive political decisions at all levels will drive certainty, a state in which businesses throughout the land can thrive and, more importantly, innovate !

In the short term at a local level, though, the clever money seems to be on the second half of 2021 improving and continuing to capitalise upon the optimism of the first – signs are positive and hopefully that proves to be a winning bet! There seems to be a desire to tackle the challenges we have all endured over the last 18 months across the business sector in the North East and demand for industrial space is on the up curve! What emerges from COP26 and time will tell!

Graeme Watt – E: graeme.watt@fgburnett.co.uk

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