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Enabling works mark exciting phase for Edinburgh St James as project celebrates milestone year

Having made significant progress throughout 2015, Edinburgh St James, one of the largest construction projects currently underway in the UK, now moves on apace with enabling works starting in the New Year.

In 2015, Edinburgh St James celebrated some major milestones. Over the summer, the team secured planning approval for the scheme and it was recently confirmed that John Lewis, the city’s best loved department store, will continue to trade throughout construction and will be a part of the development when it completes.

The New Edingburgh St James development

In September, a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) Inquiry took place. The CPO, which is being promoted by the City of Edinburgh Council, is vital to the delivery of the Edinburgh St James regeneration and requires confirmation from the Scottish Government. A decision from Scottish Ministers is expected in the New Year.

In addition, last year saw investment opportunities for the hotel and residential aspects of Edinburgh St James proactively marketed and TH Real Estate confirmed it was seeking an investment partner for the delivery of the project. Announcements on the investment opportunities will be made before demolition begins in the spring.

In order to start demolition, TH Real Estate will carry out a programme of essential pre-construction works. These will be implemented by Laing O’Rourke under a Further Engagement Agreement and various other utility companies and service providers. These important works mark the start of an exciting phase for Edinburgh St James, which is widely supported in the city.

Leith Street Once Edinburgh St James completes, new frontages and widened walkways will make Leith Street much easier to navigate. The central barrier will be removed and a new reconfigured pedestrian crossing will be created to line-up with John Lewis’s Leith Street entrance. An additional pedestrian crossing over Leith Street will also be created near Calton Road. To facilitate this, from early January 2015, there will be a phased removal of the central reservation. There will also be single-lane traffic (in a contra-flow system) in both directions during the construction phase. This will facilitate a number of works taking place around John Lewis. Pedestrian access down Leith Street will be maintained and bus stops will be relocated where necessary.

Leith Street View after development Work

John Lewis In order to allow John Lewis to remain trading throughout construction, a new entrance on Leith Street will be created and a new click and collect lay-by will be put in place. The menswear department will be relocated and a new infill building will adjoin the store. This will be home to a temporary loading bay and permanent fire escape. In addition, support steel work will be erected to allow heating equipment and a generator to be installed and John Lewis’s existing electrical supply will be relocated, with a new substation in Cathedral Lane. On Little King Street, a steelwork frame will be constructed to allow a new staircase to be created – this will be connected to each level of the store.

Utility works In order to ensure a strong, continued supply of services to the neighbourhood during the construction of Edinburgh St James and beyond, a series of utility works will take place. This will include a new gas main which will be installed on Leith Street and to facilitate this, it is expected that Calton Road will close for four weeks in April. There will also be a new water supply on Leith Street and on Elder Street there are plans for a new sewer and drainage as well as for a new gas main.

The existing St James Centre The St James Centre is expected to close in the spring and this will include the closure of the car park. People can expect to see scaffolding erected around New St Andrews house, as this will be the first building to be demolished when the project starts in earnest.

Martin Perry, Director of Development at TH Real Estate, said:
We have been working really hard to progress Edinburgh St James and 2015 saw the development make some great strides forward. We are now at a really important stage, as the work we carry out over the next few months will put the necessary infrastructure in place to allow the rest of the development to take place.

We are liaising closely with the council and the various utility companies to minimise the impact of the works on local residents, businesses and visitors to the area. We thank everyone for their patience and support and look forward to taking this landmark development for Edinburgh forward.

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