// Nuveen Real Estate’s 1.7m sq ft Edinburgh St James will open with phase one in 2020
// The scheme, located in Edinburgh’s east end, will be fully operational by the end of 2021
// The precinct will comprise 850,000sq ft of retail space, 30 food & beverage businesses, a cinema, a luxury hotel, and 152 residential apartments
The countdown is on for one of the opening of one of the UK’s most anticipated new retail precincts: Edinburgh St James.
The £850 million project, owned by Nuveen Real Estate, is slated to welcome the public for the first time in the summer of 2020, when most of the retail elements will be open.
Opening in phases, Edinburgh St James is slated to be fully operational by the end of 2021 – four years after construction began.
Tthe scheme will feature 850,000sq ft of retail and leisure space, including 85 new shops, more than 30 new restaurants, a cinema, 152 apartments, three new public squares, and an architecturally striking W hotel.
Covering 1.7 million sq ft in total, Edinburgh St James is expected to turn Edinburgh’s East End into a retail and tourist hotspot with knock-on effects on Princes and George streets, the Royal Mile and other parts of the World Heritage-listed city centre.
After the retail element opens next year, the next phases of openings will focus on the leisure and residential elements, including the 12-storey W hotel that will form the centrepiece of Edinburgh St James.
A spokesperson from Nuveen Real Estate told Retail Gazette that 85 per cent of the scheme was now contracted or in legals.
New Look, Zara, Hackett, Next, Bershka, Stradivarius, Mango and Waitrose are among the big-name retailers are set to open new stores within the scheme next year, while an existing John Lewis along Leith Street will become an anchor, complete with a new entrance for access via Edinburgh St James.
For Zara, it will be a new regional flagship store while Mango’s upcoming Edinburgh St James store will be the fashion retailer’s first in the city.
During a recent site visit, Retail Gazette saw first-hand how Edinburgh St James was inspired by the gallerias of the world, including the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan and BCE Place in Toronto.
Designed by Allan Murray architects, the loop-arch layout of the centre will work as both an anchor and a connection between Princes Street and George Street – via St Andrew’s Square and Multrees Walk – allowing shoppers to wonder through these precincts seamlessly.
The 12-storey W hotel was designed by architect firm Jestico & Whiles, featuring a winding bronze-coloured steel ribbon facade that has been likened to spirals of paper, a reference to the printing presses that were historically located in the surrounding area.
The scheme’s public squares can be used as event spaces, and there are rooftop spaces throughout that will play host to rooftop cinema nights, bars, and private and corporate events.
The W hotel also has a rooftop bar and club that comes with 360-degree views of Edinburgh and Nuveen Real Estate even suggested that Edinburgh St James could play host to Edinburgh Fringe events as a third major menu.
Edinburgh St James has so far employed more than 3000 people to build, and Nuveen Real Estate is working to ensure the centre is sustainable by producing its own electricity.