Construction underway at Edinburgh St James

Construction work has now commenced for the 1.7 million sq ft Edinburgh St James development following the completion of a significant demolition programme, marking a major new phase in the regeneration of the east end of Edinburgh.

Four tower cranes have arrived on site in recent months, including one of the largest tower cranes in Europe. Led by the project’s main contractor Laing O’Rourke, the construction process will see 200,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete being used to build the development, with over 5,000 workers on site throughout the duration of the build.

Opening to the public in 2020, the mixed-use scheme in the heart of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most significant regeneration projects currently underway in the UK. Comprising 850,000 sq ft of retail space, including 85 new shops and 32 food and beverage units, an Everyman Cinema, up to 150 new homes, a five-star luxury W Hotel, a Roomzzz Aparthotel and three new public squares, Edinburgh St James is set to revolutionise and regenerate the city’s East End.

Martin Perry, project director, Edinburgh St James, said: “The start of construction marks an exciting new phase in the progress of Edinburgh St James. The next stage of the construction process will, over time, start to see buildings coming out of the ground and will allow the public to get a taste of what is to come in 2020.

“Edinburgh St James is going to be a major new landmark for the city, opening up the East End of Edinburgh and creating a truly inspiring place for people to live, shop and play. We look forward to making further announcements about progress on site ahead of the opening in 2020.”

The news coincides with a number of important milestones from the project’s sustainability programme, as part of the project’s ongoing commitment to the wider Edinburgh community, economy and environment; 79% of people inducted on the project live in the local area 60% of construction value has been sourced locally, and 98% of non-hazardous construction waste diverted from landfill.

The team has also undertaken over 480 hours of volunteering on local curriculum engagement activities and community engagement and supported over 230 days of work experience and pre-employment opportunities – reaching almost half of the agreed target of 500 days.

Tim Kelly, project director, Laing O’Rourke, said: “The level of progress onsite since the former St James Shopping centre closed almost 18 months ago has been remarkable. We have put the local community at the heart of the development and have ensured that this is demonstrated through our continued commitment towards community engagement and a variety of local sustainability initiatives.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of the housing and economy committee, said: “This is a key milestone in the Edinburgh St James Project which, when open, will transform the city centre, deliver over 3,000 new full time permanent jobs, and give a fantastic boost to the city’s economy.”

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