Edinburgh city centre retail rents soar due to St James revamp

Tenants displaced from the St James shopping centre have battled to secure alternative accommodation. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Tenants displaced from the St James shopping centre have battled to secure alternative accommodation. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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The redevelopment of the former St James shopping centre in Edinburgh, which has only just got underway, has seen some rents in the city centre spiral by almost a third.

While the current effect is mainly due to the need to find alternative premises for displaced tenants, property experts predict that the £1 billion St James Quarter development will give the capital’s retail standing a significant boost when it opens in 2020.

The new St James Quarter is due to open in 2020. Picture: Laing O'Rourke

The new St James Quarter is due to open in 2020. Picture: Laing O'Rourke

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The findings are contained in the Colliers International Midsummer Retail Report, which provides a perspective on the UK shopping scene by looking at the trends and innovations that are shaping the country’s retail sector and its property market.

Ross Wilkie, director, retail, with Colliers International in Scotland, said: “St James is going to be a world-class shopping centre which, as a destination, is something that Edinburgh has been lacking.

“In the meantime, rents on Princes Street premises, in particular, have soared as displaced tenants from the old St James battled to secure alternative accommodation.

“While we may see a reversal when the new St James opens, in the longer term, this will help cement Edinburgh’s credentials as a world city and will be positive for all areas, especially the east of Princes Street, which is closest to the new centre.”

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According to the report, Princes Street Zone A rates are back up to £240 per sq ft – an increase of 30 per cent in just two years.

Meanwhile, Glasgow’s appeal to international retailers has continued, most notably in Buchanan Street, which saw a surge in demand and corresponding rental growth. In the last 12 months, the Zone A rate has jumped from £280 per sq ft to a peak of £314.

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