Nearly 800 electric vehicle (EV) plug-in points will be installed at the campus-style complex, which is set within the existing grounds of Drummond House and the Younger building in the Edinburgh Park business district. The developers say the proposed scheme will be a “game-changer” for modern working.
The 18-acre scheme, named Edinburgh Green, is being created with a “focus on well-being and sustainability”, and is located on the site of the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, which was used as a vaccination centre during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The design is based on the ‘20-minute neighbourhood’ concept and aligned with Edinburgh’s target to become a net zero city by 2030.
As well as an array of new offices and nine acres of publicly accessible green space with a pond, there will be a range of other facilities on site. These include a multi-purpose pavilion, café and events space, sport and leisure facilities and a mobility hub that provides for cyclists and EVs, car club access and public transport links.
At the heart of the development will be state-of-the-art office space covering in excess of 800,000sqft, with capacity for more than 7,000 workers. The mobility hub will feature a total of 765 chargers when complete – almost double the number being installed at the UK’s current biggest facility, the Energy Superhub in Oxford, which is eventually expected to accommodate up to 400 cars.
An initial 170 EV charge points will be fitted in the first phase of construction, with a further 595 enabled for future use. They will be open to the public in the evenings and at weekends, outside traditional working hours.
New petrol and diesel cars and vans are set to be phased out by 2032 in Scotland and by 2040 across the rest of the UK. The move is part of an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transport, which is responsible for one of the largest shares of climate pollution.
It comes as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in Thursday’s autumn statement that EVs would be taxed from 2025 for the first time.
Brian Rabinowit, director of developer Shelborn Asset Management, said: “This is one of the most ambitious office developments to be launched in Edinburgh for decades and our plans for Europe’s largest electric vehicle charging hub is key to meeting our ambitious 2030 net zero target. Sustainability will be at the heart of this development, which promises to be a game-changer by transforming the common perception of what an office workspace should look like.
“It will boast modern office accommodation surrounded by spacious landscaped parkland and a range of on-site facilities such as a multi-use pavilion, café and events space and comprehensive transport links.
“As Edinburgh’s market continues to grow post-pandemic, public and private sector occupiers are demanding a better-quality workspace, which gives their employees better places to work. Edinburgh Green is seeking to respond directly to this, creating a new kind of workspace that optimises a well-connected brownfield site, complete with all the amenities and functionality demanded by both employer and employee alike.”
The area around Edinburgh Park and the Gyle shopping centre is undergoing significant change, with the addition of around 6,000 new homes in the pipeline and plans to reconfigure and diversify the area. Shelborn Asset Management purchased the former bank site and existing buildings from the NatWest Group in 2021.
The Edinburgh Green project was designed by Edinburgh-based 7N Architects with planning consultants Montagu Evans. Under the proposals, the Younger building, which has been constructed to modern office standards, will be retained and refurbished. The existing Drummond House will be demolished and seven new office buildings erected with undercroft car parking.
Detailed plans have now been submitted to Edinburgh City Council for consideration. If consent is granted, construction is expected to begin onsite next summer for an opening date in 2026.
A recent report into the Edinburgh office market, produced by property specialists Ryden and Global Commercial Real Estate Services, identified an acute shortage of Grade A offices with the sustainable credentials that fulfil occupier needs. The shortfall is further exacerbated by a lack of new developments under construction and no new stock expected to be available before 2024.
Edinburgh Green also represents a significant investment in west Edinburgh, according to the developers, and will bring in substantial and widespread benefits for the city’s economy. According to analysis by BiGGAR Economics, the scheme will generate around £370 million in extra cash and 5,300 jobs in Edinburgh.