One of the UK’s largest business parks, Magenta, is springing out of the ground two miles from the heart of Glasgow city centre.

When built, it will offer up to 1m sq ft of space for occupiers looking for an alternative to the city centre, where grade-A space is severely lacking – only around 60,000 sq ft of new space remains.

Developer Highbridge Properties recently topped out the first of the office buildings, but has not yet secured any pre-lets. So how does it feel the plans are progressing and what impact will it have on the Glasgow office market? Property Week spoke to the developer’s executive director Guy Marsden to find out.

Marsden claims that Magenta offers “the best of both worlds” for occupiers: it will be around 35% cheaper than the city centre, where rents sit at £30/sq ft, while still having strong transport links. “The current market for grade-A office space in Glasgow city centre is one of high demand, low supply and no speculative new-build development,” says Marsden.

“With the combination of increasing demand and decreasing stock, businesses may find themselves unable to expand or move within the city centre due to lack of availability. This leaves companies with the option of a refurbished office or going out of town.”

Occupiers taking space early will get the best deals, and the first building to go up – the 40,000 sq ft Red Tree Magenta – is designed to house SMEs and local businesses, including those from the Clyde Gateway, a major regeneration project encompassing industrial, office and residential space, which Magenta is part of. So far, 2,500 homes have been built nearby and that number could rise to 6,000 shortly. That means that Magenta could become part of an urban village, where people live nearby and walk to work in the development’s office buildings.

Strong interest

Highbridge has not yet secured pre-lets for phase one of the development, which spans 100,000 sq ft, but Marsden says it has only just brought the development to market, and has attracted strong interest from service-based firms, as well as from SMEs.

“Clyde Gateway has received healthy levels of interest for Red Tree Magenta and heads of terms have already been issued to a number of enquiries,” he says. The Department for International Trade is also promoting the development abroad, he adds.

The Clyde Gateway has proved attractive to occupiers, with Police Scotland relocating 1,000 jobs to the area. Overall, Magenta will provide space for at least 12,000 jobs.

Marsden says the scale of Magenta does not present a challenge to Highbridge, which has already delivered 13m sq ft of office and industrial space across the UK, including the 2m sq ft Cobalt Park, the largest office park in the UK. The biggest hurdle, he says, will be getting those first tenants signed up. “The challenge is for companies to appreciate the scope of the opportunity. Once one comes, a lot of others will follow.”

With office space in Glasgow in short supply, it could be only a matter of time before occupiers start to make the short journey out of the city centre.