First look: Edinburgh St James site one year on

The development of the new Edinburgh St James as of October 2017.
The development of the new Edinburgh St James as of October 2017.
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It is the development which is set to change the face of the east end.

Today marks one year since demolition of the former St James Centre began, and while it may still be difficult to imagine the final result, developers insist they are still on track to open to the public in 2020.

The development of the new St. James Quarter - as of October 2017

The development of the new St. James Quarter - as of October 2017

Dismantling and demolishing the shopping centre and carparks has now been completed, with work ongoing at the former Scottish Government building.

Over the year contractors Laing O’Rourke say they have also managed the environmental impact of the project by diverting over 96 percent of demolition waste from landfill.

Over 19,700 tonnes of material - the equivalent of 164 blue whales - has been recycled and reused onsite for construction purposes.

Martin Perry, project director at Edinburgh St James, said: “Good progress has been made by Laing O’Rourke onsite over the last year, ensuring that we remain on track to open to the public in 2020.

“Alongside demolition work, we have also been delighted with the hugely positive impact that Edinburgh St James has already had from a local perspective. The project has created new employment and apprenticeship opportunities, supported local businesses, charities and suppliers, and worked with local schools, colleges and universities to support education initiatives.

“We look forward to continuing the good work in the year ahead.”

Members of staff are working with Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity’s Calaréidh respite centre with volunteers helping to to tackle tasks at the centre.

Designed by Allan Murray Architects, the development will comprise 850,000 sq ft of shopping space, 150 new homes, Edinburgh’s first Everyman cinema, and the UK’s second ever W Hotel.

Cllr Gavin Barrie, housing and economy convener, added: “This is a major redevelopment which will transform the city centre of Edinburgh and is bringing a tremendous boost to the city’s economy.

“A year on it is very encouraging to see the great progress being made on the project.

“Upon completion, it is anticipated it will create 3,000 full-time permanent jobs and local people and businesses will benefit from the creation of these valuable job opportunities.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk