TARTAN Commercial, the firm behind The Lighthouse business centre in North Berwick, has expanded its portfolio by acquiring the Falkirk Business Hub.
The company said that its £1.925 million acquisition from Bellair Scotland will see it retain all employees at the hub as they carve out their positions as one of the country’s largest independent business centre and flexible workspace companies.
Founding director, Andy Hadden, recognised the opportunity for flexible working practices in rural and commuting locations several years ago. It led to him developing The Lighthouse Business Centre, which now has over 35 tenant companies.
The Falkirk Business Hub is also home to more than 35 tenant companies and 150 people, ranging from corporate companies, to solopreneurs. The former Falkirk General Post Office building was completely modernised in 2013 and the four-storey landmark building provides a variety of coworking and virtual office space, meeting rooms and rentable offices together with a café and a fitness and wellness centre onsite.
MD Nick Watson joined Tartan Commercial at the beginning of 2020 to drive the company’s expansion. The part-owner of the business has gained extensive knowledge of the property market for over 20 years. A former director of Rettie & Co, Watson has driven the Falkirk acquisition and is in the process of acquiring further sites and opportunities across Scotland.
He said, “We are delighted to complete this acquisition, situated right in the heart of Falkirk. The trend towards workplace mobility wasn’t created as a result of the pandemic but it has certainly accelerated it. We believe that the future will see a combination of flexible practices which includes working from home, hubs such as North Berwick and Falkirk, as well as larger city headquarters.
“Since September this year, we have seen a sharp increase in enquiries compared to the beginning of the year, clearly reflecting the changes to work practices. The tenant mix we are seeing includes corporate occupiers looking for regional hub space as well as independent local businesses.”
Tartan Commercial director, Andy Hadden, added, “Our mission is to transform towns and create self-sufficient micro-economies outside major cities. This approach and impact have been highlighted with our work in North Berwick, and Bellair have done a wonderful job in Falkirk, hence our appetite to acquire. This strategy means we employ more patient capital, with a view to owning all sites and buildings freehold, but then developing and nurturing them as you would a hotel. To us, the mechanics might be property, but this is 100% the hospitality industry, where goodwill from tenants who can ultimately leave on short notice is a key metric for sustainable, lucrative business.
“We’ve had various tempting offers to grow rapidly across multiple sites using a leasing model, but our intention is to leave a legacy everywhere we go, and to achieve that we look at our business planning in 5-to-10-year cycles, rather than a 1-to-2-year view.”