An empty office building in Aberdeen could be transformed into 50 new ‘co-living’ spaces, if the developers agree to the council’s demands they be rented out, instead of sold.

The empty 72,000 sq ft site had not been viewed by any prospective tenants for five months when plans were submitted in July.

Developers Xusa want to turn the existing office block into 50 one and two-bedroom flats, a coworking office space and makers’ space, with a cafe, gym and residents’ library.

Image: The Press and Journal / Artists impression of Stoneywood Gate Development


However, council planners raised concerns that “significant deficiencies in the layout, design and siting” of the flats, the potential for conflict between individual owners and the businesses housed there as well as the shared amenities mean it “cannot be supported as mainstream housing”.

They ruled the project could only move forward if part of a centrally-controlled, build-to-rent private-rented sector (PRS) development. 

The council also stipulated that Xusa offer £60,000 towards an extension to the already-overflowing Bucksburn Academy, with healthcare facilities, paths and open space, as well as including 13 affordable homes on-site.

Planning officer Alex Ferguson told the council:

“If those appropriate controls are applied then the planning service is satisfied the development would offer a high quality, relatively unique model of housing within the city, which would add to the range of residential accommodation on offer.”

PRS development is a Scottish Government backed concept being pushed as the ‘future of the property market’.