First look at £75m redevelopment of Edinburgh’s historic tram depot

An artist's impression of the new development at Shrubhill in the former tram depot
An artist's impression of the new development at Shrubhill in the former tram depot

Images of the planned transformation of Edinburgh’s historic tram depot into a £75 million housing development have been revealed.

Once there were workshops and an engine room that housed the winding gear for the city’s famous cable-hauled trams, but soon there will be 376 new homes and state-of-the-art on-site gym facilities.

The Engine Yard, which is being developed by Places for People, is under construction at Shrubhill offering a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, duplexes and penthouses for rent and sale.

As well as the new-build properties, there will be homes available for sale within the conversion of the existing grade B-listed former tram depot buildings.

Colin Rae, group development director at Places for People, said: “We have invested a lot of time planning the transition of this historic, but very run-down site into a place where people will want to live and, through the talents of many involved in the process, we devised a solution which is holistic and sensitive to local differences. As placemakers, we are very proud that the end result will be a distinctive, sustainable, safe and accessible neighbourhood.

“Public spaces should not be lifeless and although only a small part of the site is visible from the main thoroughfare of Leith Walk, it opens up to gardens and shared spaces, creating a unique living environment.”

The listed tram sheds, chimney and a large part of the boundary wall and gables will all remain part of the new development, adding to the distinctive character of the site and keeping in touch with Leith’s unique history. As part of the development, hailed as a “gated community without gates” due to the rectangular shape of the site with its narrow frontage onto Leith Walk, there will be 51 affordable homes. A total of 25 units will be provided for older people’s housing.

Cllr Kate Campbell, convener of the housing and economy committee, said: “This is another great example of the council, through £28m of grant and loan funding, contributing to the development of more high quality affordable housing in Edinburgh.

“It is another step towards our delivery of 20,000 homes in the next ten years, helping to bring greater prosperity to everyone in every neighbourhood.”

Dr John Boyle, head of research at Rettie & Co. said: “Recent successful developments around Leith Walk have helped cement this as one of the strongest residential areas of the city. The new development at the Engine Yard is already attracting a lot of interest and looks set to continue this growth trend.”