It seems that demand for quality city homes in Edinburgh has never been higher and one street in the West End in particular highlights the recent trend with no less than 11 of its townhouses being converted from offices back to residential use.
Drumsheugh Gardens was built in the late 19th century as homes, but by the end of the 20th century most of the buildings were offices.
Comprising 38 properties, mainly five-storey townhouses – numbers 15 to 19 have been replaced by a modern office building – there are currently three developers working on conversions to create over 50 flats.
The street is attractive, laid out in a triangle with most houses overlooking a garden in the centre.
As befits the high-value area, the flats currently being developed will all be high quality, retaining original features while incorporating the latest in luxury living.
Dunedin House Properties (DHP) has planning permission for three of the houses. No 6 and No 7 will see ten one, two and three-bedroomed flats created while 29 Drumsheugh Gardens will create a further five. Both will have lifts and private parking.
Stuart Peters of DHP says: “The number of flats being created in this one street exemplifies the insatiable hunger for city centre accommodation.
“We have only just started work on one of the developments and yet already [we are] getting an awful lot of interest from both people wanting to live in Edinburgh and investors who know that these will be a safe place to put their money.”
Square + Crescent, the period renovation specialist, started work in January 2015 on 40-44 Drumsheugh Gardens. The £20 million project which created 20 flats is nearing completion but has already sold out.
The apartments were priced between £500,000 and £1.375m and Euan Marshall of Square + Crescent says that they have been bought by a mix of young professionals and downsizers. “There is a great demand for homes in the area and this will only increase with the redevelopment of Haymarket. The whole area is undergoing a dramatic change back to residential use.”
He says: “Buyers have mainly been owner-occupiers with a few ex-pat Scots keen to have a foothold in Edinburgh.”
Sundial Properties is undertaking the redevelopment of 25-27 Drumsheugh Gardens into 17 flats and William Gray Muir of Sundial says that the timing of the concentration of residential conversions has come about both because of the demand from the residential market and the length of lease given to the original offices.
He says: “The complete townhouses were too large to be of use to modern families. Twenty-five-year leases to businesses were granted in the early 1990s, but these buildings are not really suited to modern office use as they have little provision for retro-fitting technology, and [have] difficulties of access for a workforce.
“Splitting them into more manageable residential units makes sense and among the 17 flats in our project will be a number of one-bedroomed properties.”
Prices for the Sundial properties have not yet been released but the smaller flats are likely to start around the £500,000 mark. There is also a 3,600sq ft duplex planned which will incorporate an original panelled billiard room and the buildings will have a modern lift.
Gray Muir says that there is already a waiting list. “Buyers are impressed by the quality of space that these period properties offer, combined with a great location.
“They are historic homes, but with every advantage of a high-end new build.”