Law Society of Scotland falls victim to property downturn

The Law Society of Scotland has abandoned plans to sell its Edinburgh Drumsheugh Gardens headquarters and relocate to more modern offices in the Haymarket area of the city.
Ian Smart, the Society's vice president, said: “The recent downturn in the property market means we haven’t secured the kind of deal which would make it prudent to move at the moment. We do still believe a move to new premises in Edinburgh is essential for the future development of the Law Society and while we are continuing to look at new offices and will continue to talk to potential buyers, we are not now planning to move before the end of the year.”

When the Society announced its plans to move as recently as April this year, a price of £5.5 million was being talked of, with prospective purchasers said to include hotel companies and residential developers.  Scots Law News is not a financial journal, but even here such numbers seemed rather to ignore months of media coverage of "credit crunches" and consequential falls in property prices.   On the other hand it might have been, and may still be, a bit of a buyer's market for more modern office property.

Drumsheugh is a category B listed building, a terrace of three former townhouses dating from the 1870s, and Scots Law News has always liked its slightly fusty, wood-panelled and rambling interior, while recognising its definite limitations as a location for business or administrative activity.  The Law Society has been there since 1969.  Previous occupiers included HM Commissioners of Works and Public Buildings and the Forestry Commission. It was also an officers club for American forces in the First World War.