Unite unveils £38m Edinburgh flats plan

STUDENT accommodation specialist Unite yesterday announced plans for a £38 million development in Edinburgh.

Unite has student accomodation at Chalmers Street in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
Unite has student accomodation at Chalmers Street in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean

The company has struck a deal to acquire a 1.8 acre development site on St Leonard’s Street where a Homebase DIY store is currently based.

Unite said the retail unit will be refurbished as part of the plans for the site, which are expected to see student accommodation built on top of the existing premises as part of a five-storey development.

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Homebase could not confirm last night if it plans to remain on the site.

Subject to planning and funding agreements, it is expected that the scheme will be completed in time for the 2016-17 academic year.

It will be the third project to be funded from the proceeds of Unite’s 2013 share placing following the acquisition of sites in Aberdeen and Newcastle earlier this year

Richard Simpson, managing director of property for Unite, said a shortage of student accommodation in Edinburgh meant it was a prime location for the firm.

“There are 41,000 full-time students seeking accommodation in Edinburgh – with only 12,500 corporate and university bed spaces available. This structural shortage and the strong central location of this site mean the property is well located for University of Edinburgh students and will also appeal to students from other institutions, such as Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and Queen Margaret University.”

The Edinburgh scheme is expected to be made up of shared flats with communal living and kitchen spaces and a number of self-contained studios. Unite currently owns five properties in Edinburgh, providing accommodation for 717 students.