New £500m ‘urban quarter’ planned for Edinburgh outskirts

About 43 acres of land south of Edinburgh Park would be transformed under the plans by property developer Parabola.
About 43 acres of land south of Edinburgh Park would be transformed under the plans by property developer Parabola.
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A new £500 million “urban quarter” is being planned for the outskirts of Edinburgh, which will create office space for 8,000 jobs and 1,800 homes.

The capital’s biggest development for well over a decade is earmarked for a swathe of land on both sides of the tram line near the Gyle Shopping Centre.

About 43 acres of undeveloped land to the south of the Edinburgh Park business park would be transformed under the plans by property developer Parabola.

It is expected to help tackle a shortfall of high quality office space in the city and boost efforts to attract major employers to invest in Edinburgh.

Parabola said it believes the vacant land will become home to “one of the most desirable places to live and work in Edinburgh”.

Edinburgh Park, which opened in 1995, is home to more than one million sq ft of offices, including bases for RBS, Diageo, HSBC, JP Morgan and Sainsbury’s Bank. The new venture would see another 750,000 sq ft of commercial space created.

Parabola, which was behind the Central Square scheme in Newcastle and the Kings Place project in London, said it envisaged Edinburgh would “compete on a UK stage” in the next few years.

A “civic square”, 150-seat conference and events facility, bar-restaurant, leisure and medical centre, micro-brewery and specially commissioned works of art would also be created.

Parabola hopes to start work on the project next summer, with the first offices due to open by 2020.

The scale of its project, which will be served by the Edinburgh Park Central tram stop, would be much bigger than the ongoing Quartermile, New Waverley and St James schemes in the city centre.

Parabola founder Peter Millican said: “Our vision is unashamedly ambitious – to create a new vibrant community and architectural exemplar designed around the happiness and success of its people. We’re building a new working and living community, redefining modern Edinburgh with a new gateway for the capital.

“We’ve undertaken considerable research in the UK and across Europe in order to create a vision which we hope will represent a new ‘place’ for the city.”

Tony Hordon, managing director of Parabola, added: “We have a vision which is deliverable and will vastly enhance the immediate area for our neighbours.

“In our consultation to date we have been greatly encouraged by the positive support of our vision from our neighbours and leading stakeholders in the city.

“In many ways, these are possibly the best connected commercial and residential sites in the UK – next to the airport, with train stations, tram stops, public transport access and fantastic cycling and pedestrian links.

“Subject to planning, we are committed to a first phase which we hope to commence in the summer of next year.

“Parabola is committed to delivering affordable homes in the early stages of development as part of 1800 residential units on the site.”

Gavin Barrie, economy leader at Edinburgh City Council said: “This land is in a key development zone for the city and it is great news to hear that the developer is seeking to move forward.

“The right development would transform the area injecting new life into this brownfield site and we are looking forward to working with the developer.”