Edinburgh: St James Quarter

Key Sectors: Retail & leisure, Tourism and hospitality, Urban Residential


The St James Quarter is a comprehensive regeneration of the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre by Nuveen Real Estate and APG Asset Management. This massive development, the first phase of which opened June 2021, is replacing a 1970s shopping centre complex with a new mixed-use quarter featuring a mix of shops, bars and restaurants, hotels, flats, and leisure uses, complemented by enhanced public realm.


The development is the largest of its type currently underway in the UK with a GDV in excess of £1 billion. It includes 79,000 sqm of prime retail, leisure, and food and drink space (including an expanded John Lewis department store); a 214-bedroom luxury W Hotel and 73-bedroom Roomzzz aparthotel, and 150 homes.


The St James Quarter is projected to support a net increase in employment in Scotland of approximately 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs and a net increase in the gross value added of Scotland of approximately £45 million per annum.


The Council originally supported the delivery of the project by utilising its compulsory purchase powers to secure the full developable area in order to create the investment opportunity.

To further support the delivery of the development and ensure that the best possible outcome for the city in economic and environmental terms is achieved, a collaboration with the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust, the development partners – Nuveen Real Estate and APG Asset Management, and the Council – has been put in place. This arrangement is referred to as the Growth Accelerator. This innovative new model is primarily a funding mechanism that allows borrowing costs to be offset by new income streams subject to performance targets being achieved while also enhancing the public realm package supporting the development.

The development commenced on 20th October 2016. The retail galleria opened on 24th June, with the remaining elements opening over the following 18 months.

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