RMJM has left its offices in Glasgow’s Skypark development for new premises in Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 106 Hope Street
The troubled company vacated its west Glasgow serviced offices on Thursday last week (28 March) but will continue to pay rent on the building, which it has leased until 2014.
The move happened as RMJM Group chair Fraser Morrison bought parts of the business for £11 million, writing off £12 million worth of debt in a bid to move the company back into profit.
RMJM Europe chief executive Jonathan French said relocating to smaller premises would save money and help reposition the company as a ‘design-led’ outfit.
The new studio space – inside Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1900 city centre building – will house RMJM’s 12-strong Glasgow team, he confirmed.
French declined to clarify how many employees once worked at the Skypark offices, but former staff claimed the premises hosted around 55 workers in its heyday. RMJM’s European division employs 100 staff based mostly in the UK, the chief said.
‘Since reducing the size of the business, we don’t need the size or expense of Skypark and as a consequence we can be more effective in how we can spend our money,’ said French.
According to the former Chipperfield chief, the company will save money because the combined total of Hope Street’s rent and overheads will be less than the large electricity bill racked up at the now-vacated Skypark studios.
He said: ‘We can afford to turn off electricity to Skypark,[continue to] pay the rent [for that space], and still save money by moving to Hope Street.’
‘[The move] is part of my decision to reposition the business towards design and take away preoccupations with commercial issues and money and so forth.’
Earlier this week RMJM Group chair Fraser Morrison emerged as the backer behind an investment firm which bought RMJM Architecture for £11 million.
The purchase by Duthus Investments – which was revealed in an e-mail to shareholders – saw £12 million worth of debt written off the practice’s balance sheet.
In an exclusive interview, French told AJ he planned to bring the company back into profit this year which would require it to grow 10 per cent.