St James Quarter lifestyle district in Edinburgh includes the first W Hotel in Scotland. Credit: Nuveen.
St James Quarter was officially opened in September 2022. Credit: Nuveen.
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St James Quarter is a mixed-use district in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, anchored by development in retail and lifestyle options.

It is a regeneration project owned and developed by a joint venture between Dutch pension investor APG Asset Management (75%) and American asset manager Nuveen (25%).

The 1.7 million square feet mixed-use development houses shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, public spaces and leisure venues. With an estimated investment of approximately £1bn ($1.41bn), the project is centred around the former St James Shopping Centre, which was demolished to facilitate the development of the new St James Quarter.

The final crane at the St James Quarter development site was officially removed in May 2021, marking the end of a five-year construction period, which began in October 2016.

Phase one of the St James Quarter opened its doors to the public in June 2021 with the launch of its 850,000ft2 shopping galleria. The project was officially inaugurated in September 2022.

St James Quarter location and access

The St James Quarter is located in the middle of the east end of the Edinburgh City Centre Retail Core within the New Town Conservation Area and World Heritage Site. It is located at the intersection of three key routes in the city, namely North Bridge, George Street and Leith Walk.

The property is easily accessible from the Edinburgh airport, bus station, Haymarket and Waverley railway stations and other local transport connections.

St James Quarter development details

The St James Quarter mixed-use development is anchored by the existing John Lewis store, which remained open during construction. The project also includes a new cinema complex and the construction of a 74-room, four-star Roomzzz Aparthotel and the 244-room five-star W Edinburgh Hotel, representing the debut of the W Hotels brand in Scotland.

The design of the St James Quarter includes the central steel Rimex feature, which wraps around the W hotel and rises from the centre.

The development’s residential component includes the New Eidyn, an apartment complex comprising 152 premium apartments with views of the city. Located on the fifth to eighth floors of the St James Quarter and spanning three buildings, the complex offers extensive residential spaces and gardens.

The apartment designs combine Edinburgh’s classic interiors with a contemporary flair and quality finishes, including floor-to-ceiling windows, stone worktops and wooden flooring. The New Eidyn is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023.

Retail offerings at St James Quarter

The St James Quarter mixed-use development features 850,000ft² of retail space, anchored by John Lewis. The shopping centre accommodates up to 80 new brands.

The retail offerings at the shopping complex include high-street retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, JD Sports, Next and H&M. Zara occupies 37,000ft² spanning three floors while H&M occupies 2,100ft² across two floors.

Spanish multinational clothing company Inditex also opened stores of its Bershka, Stradivarius and Pull&Bear brands within the St James Quarter’s main multilevel galleria.

Dining and entertainment options

The St James Quarter features more than 30 restaurants across four levels of the development. The dining options include Tortilla, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Hotel Chocolat, Bross Bagels, Five Guys, Salerno Pizza, SushiSamba, Black Sheep Coffee and The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant. The Lane7 bar in the new neighbourhood offers dining, bowling, crazy golf, ping-pong and beer-pong.

The dining space also includes the Bonnie & Wild marketplace, the city’s first food hall with the capacity to accommodate approximately 700 guests, with open-plan seating for up to 400 people. The St James Quarter also features a five-screen Everyman cinema, the first cinema complex of the company in Scotland.

Amenities at the new mixed-use development in Edinburgh

St James Quarter offers three new public squares. A car parking area with two entrances and exits provides more than 1,600 parking bays across three basement levels, including 70 spaces for disabled persons.

The parking area features more than 40 electric vehicle (EV) charging bays powered by PodPoint, a charging infrastructure provider based in the UK.

The shopping centre also offers a hands-free shopping option allowing shoppers to leave their purchases in-store and deliver them to their preferred address.

Contractors involved

British multinational construction company Laing O’Rourke was the principal contractor for the construction of the St James Quarter.

TFT, a property development, built assets and sustainability consultant based in the UK, was appointed as project monitoring surveyor.

The architectural design of the St James Quarter complex was provided by architecture firms Allan Murray Architects and BDP Architects. W Edinburgh Hotel was designed by an architecture and interior design firm Jestico + Whiles.

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for the development of the St James Quarter was coordinated by British multidisciplinary consultancy Waterman.

Boxxed, a marketing agency, received a contract to provide the positioning, brand strategy and delivery. Additionally, it provides marketing campaigns to target business and consumer audiences.

Property developer Native Land was selected as the residential partner for the mixed-use development. The company partnered with Queensberry Properties to develop the project’s residential component.

Gardiner & Theobald, an independent global consultancy, was selected as the principal designer and construction and design management consultancy. The company also provided project management, cost management, life cycle costing and construction and property tax advice.

Professional services company Arup provided various services, including civil engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, BIM modelling and facade engineering.

Environmental building services consultancy Wallace Whittle provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) engineering design and sustainability consultancy services.

Construction company and a subsidiary of Royal BAM Group, BAM Construction, was contracted by Nuveen Real Estate to fit out the interiors of the W Edinburgh Hotel.

Smart building solutions provider Intecho, a provider of infrastructure solutions Equans, independent network provider Commsworld and the design firm Luma are some other contractors involved in the project.

The marketing solutions company Redwood Consulting, the engineering and architecture consultancy Sweco and interior design firms 7N Architects and Hudson & Mercer are also involved in the project.