Significant Investment In Wallace House Refurbishment

Investment in commercial property leads to tenant retention

Bellair has invested over six figures in one of its prime office buildings to ensure existing and potential occupiers are presented with the highest quality facilities.

The Falkirk-based company has undertaken a capital improvement project on its Wallace House multi-let office building located on Maxwell Place, Stirling. The works have seen a complete refurbishment of the common areas along with upgrading services within the building to create Stirling’s best high quality office accommodation.

Bellair originally acquired Wallace House in 2013 attracted by its central location and close proximity to the city’s railway and bus stations. It also represents the only open-plan office space available in Stirling’s city centre.

The completed work is in keeping with Bellair’s investment policy, which is applied across its entire portfolio and has already yielded results this year including re-gearing the leases to Body & Sole and Dyslexia Scotland; removing the break from Phoenix Broadband’s lease and completed a new letting to Sue Ryder. One further suite is currently under offer and Bellair is in negotiations to extend another tenant’s lease.

Colin Campbell, director of Bellair (Scotland) Ltd takes the view that commercial property should be maintained and marketed in the same way as residential property.

“We have invested significantly into Wallace House, using our own capital, rather than the service charge, to upgrade the common areas so the building’s appearance is of the standard to that found in Edinburgh and Glasgow.” said Colin.

“It also helps maintain and enhance its position as the best office building in central Stirling.”

Colin adds:

“We strive not to deliver a standard refurbishment but to go above what is expected. We have installed a custom-made reception desk, artwork from an award-winning photographer, and worked with an EPC assessor to ensure the building is as energy efficient as possible.”

This was the same approach used at Falkirk Business Hub where Bellair regularly changes artwork and reinvests profits to enhance the property.  The Falkirk Business Hub is also home to one of Scotland’s first co-working lounges, further demonstrating Bellair’s forward thinking attitude.

“We realise that if we stop this process standards will fall and tenants could leave.”

Colin says the company believes that it is necessary to match the facilities and standards available in the big cities.

“You need to offer the best in class in terms of space and environment.  Everyone wants city centre office specification that you would find in Glasgow or Edinburgh and this is important at viewings to demonstrate our offering is similar to the levels you would expect to find there. The works have also taken place before we begin to market this building in the coming month.”

The company is applying this refreshing approach to marketing commercial property by adopting the same proactive methods that homeowners and landlords use to sell and let homes.

Bellair believes there is a “disconnect” between the two segments of the market and that homeowners invest in their properties before putting them on the market, whereas office owners tend to sell “as seen”.

Colin says:

“In the residential market owners and landlords invest heavily to upgrade the appearance of the property before marketing.

“The commercial world advertises space in its current condition with the offer or promise to invest once a tenant is secured.

“Surely you want to show your property looking the best it can before anyone views!”

For this reason Bellair believes in being a proactive landlord, solving problems before they arise, especially when it comes to maintenance and the appearance of buildings. The company spends considerable time reviewing the condition of its portfolio and addressing areas where it needs to invest.

This year alone it has carried out significant investments to South Lumley Street and Avon Hall, both in Grangemouth, and Wallace House, Stirling, along with the continued investment in the Falkirk Business Hub.

Colin concludes:

“We aim to create positive working environments where tenants want to be based and, more importantly, do not want to leave.  This is most prevalent at the Falkirk Business Hub where we have 100% building occupancy and a waiting list for office space to come available.”