Residential-led district planned for 15.5-acre Edinburgh Gateway site

OSBORNE+Co and build-to-rent operator Moda Living have together acquired a 15.5-acre site in Edinburgh to create a new residential-led district.

The joint venture will, subject to planning, look to transform the Saica factory site at Edinburgh Gateway rail and tram interchange into a new urban quarter. The masterplan has been tipped to deliver a ‘vibrant’ range of new homes across a mix of tenures – including a ‘substantial’ affordable housing provision – workspaces and community amenities, as well as a public realm and access to a new transport hub.

In excess of 1,000 homes could be built across the tenure and pricing spectrum. The homes will aim to include a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments alongside townhouses.

The neighbourhood will also boast green space and placemaking initiatives, while commercial opportunities will be available.

The vision is said to align with City of Edinburgh Council’s City Plan 2030 to transform the west of the city into a ‘high-density mixed-use extension to the city with a focus on placemaking, sustainability, connectivity and biodiversity’.

Pre-application discussions, as well as community engagement and consultations, will begin in the coming months, and the team aims to submit outline planning to City of Edinburgh Council within the next 12 months.

Will Hean, development director at Osborne+Co, said, “The acquisition of the Saica site is an exciting and evolutionary addition to our portfolio, again reinforcing our commitment, strategy and long-term vision in Scotland. We are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Moda to realise a truly transformational opportunity.

“As a priority, we will work in collaboration with all our vital stakeholders to shape and deliver on a vision to create a neighbourhood that enriches the existing, thriving community that is designed around accessible and sustainable housing options. We always strive to be good neighbours and hope to bring significant benefits to the community, whether that’s boosting the local economy through employment opportunities, growing the available supply of housing or giving back to the communities we work in.”

Oscar Brooks, director at Moda Living, added, “This is a hugely important site for Moda. Working with Osborne, we are excited to deliver a fantastic next generation neighbourhood that will form the beating heart of west Edinburgh, providing much-needed new homes along with outstanding new public realm and intended connectivity with the transport interchange at Edinburgh Gateway.

“As with all Moda neighbourhoods, this site will be designed, built, and operated around ESG, targeting net zero operations, outstanding resident service and experience, health and wellbeing and using the latest innovation and digital infrastructure to deliver an unparalleled customer experience. We have solid confidence in the Scottish market and as a family company with a long-term view it is crucial, we continue to invest, develop, and operate at scale whilst remaining a trusted partner of the city.”

The development is the third lined up by the joint venture between Moda and Osborne+Co. Outline planning has been submitted for Lancefield Quay in Glasgow for 730 units. Last year the JV also announced plans to develop a mixed-use campus at Belfast Waterside, with more than 600 residential units and 1m sq ft of office space.

Savills acted for Saica Packaging in the sale. Ben Brough, Savills head of residential development, said: “We are delighted to have concluded the conditional sale to Moda and Osborne. In a hotly contested disposal process their vision for a truly mixed-use gateway development for Edinburgh was compelling. This new urban quarter will become a residential hub for the west of the city. It is very exciting to see a multi-tenure development, incorporating Build to Rent, come forward at this scale.”

Adam Haycock, regional director Scotland for Saica, commented, “When it came to assessing the multiple bids received for this site, Saica selected Moda and Osborne due to the consortium’s commitment to creating a new neighbourhood with appropriate amenities and infrastructure. This is very much in line with our own strategy of building sustainable communities in the places we operate.”

Spain-headquartered paper and cardboard company Saica will shortly be moving to a new purpose-built facility in Livingston.