Developers vow tech city project at Edinburgh Airport to go ahead despite Covid

Digital quarter will help create 6,600 jobs

The development will include 2500 homes and over 1 million sq ft of commercial space. Artist's impression: Corstorphine + Wright Architects
The development will include 2500 homes and over 1 million sq ft of commercial space. Artist's impression: Corstorphine + Wright Architects

DEVELOPERS behind proposals for a “tech city” next to Edinburgh Airport which could bring 6,600 jobs to the Capital have vowed the project will go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans for the major housing and commercial development on the site of the disused “crosswind” runway - which was also the original RAF Turnhouse runway - have now been formally submitted to the city council.

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The project, which has been named Elements Edinburgh, involves 2,500 new homes and over 1 million sq. ft of commercial space, including a dedicated digital quarter, hotels and retail units.

The site will include public and green space. Image: Corstorphine + Wright

The company behind the scheme, Crosswind Developments - which is part of Global Infrastructure Partners, owners of Edinburgh Airport - said the commitment to proceed with the investment was a huge vote of confidence in the Capital’s future as it looks to rebuild its economy after Covid.

Crosswind chief executive John Watson said: “This is a significant commitment to invest in the Scottish economy at a crucial time.

“The impact of coronavirus has been severe both in terms of public health and economic damage. However we remain confident in the long-term economic future of both Edinburgh and Scotland which is why we are pressing ahead with this important development.

“We have adapted our original plans, which already included many aspects of sustainability and inclusion, to ensure that Elements Edinburgh will be an exemplar for similar developments as we move to new ways of living and working.”

Crosswind say it will be a net zero carbon development using the latest in green technology

More than 40 per cent of the 30.4 hectare site will be dedicated green and public space with an informal park opening up access to the Gogar Burn.

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There will be dedicated cycleways and pathways and the housing will be built to exacting new green standards.

The concept behind the development is that the model of blended living and working along with significant open space and Edinburgh’s appealing lifestyle will help attract high-flying young executives and companies keen to draw on the talent pool from the city’s universities.

The developers say the digital quarter be at the heart of the scheme and become home to tech start-ups and growing digital companies.

The site is one of the best connected in Scotland with easy access to rail, road and air routes, which they hope will make it an attractive Scottish base for international firms.

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The technology sector is forecast to be one of Scotland’s fastest growing and Edinburgh is already home to almost a quarter of Scotland’s technology firms.

The Capital was recently named the UK’s top city for start-ups and attracts more foreign investment than any other tech cluster in the UK, outside London

An economic report on the project says the development could boost Scotland’s economy by £460m per year and support 6,612 jobs.

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director