• 18 January 2016

Major transformation of Edinburgh’s St James Centre

Edinburgh St James is an ambitious mixed-use city centre development and one of the largest regeneration projects currently underway in the UK. The project offers a unique opportunity to create a landmark design in a world heritage site and is being delivered by TH Real Estate.

Designed by Allan Murray Architects, the 1.7million ft2 Edinburgh St James scheme will see the 1970’s shopping centre currently on site replaced with 850,000ft2 of retail space, a luxury hotel, up to 250 new homes, 30 restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.

The new development will be the Scottish capital’s prime shopping destination, linking with and expanding the existing retail pitch of George Street, Princes Street and Multrees Walk. Its outstanding connectivity will create an exciting hub for Edinburgh’s thriving day and night-time economy becoming the new beating heart of the city centre.

st-james-centre_intWaterman have been involved with the project since 2007. We completed the Environmental Impact Assessment and Sustainability Assessment of the proposals which gained Outline Planning Permission in 2009. Over the past 12 months, our Infrastructure and Environment team have undertaken a wide variety of additional environmental assessments for the emerging detailed design which culminated in a series of Reserved Matters Applications (RMAs) being consented in August 2015. Demolition is scheduled to commence in early 2016.

Critical to the success of the proposals was the production of 32 accurate visual representations (i.e. photo montages) of the scheme from a wide selection of viewpoints within the city centre and further afield. The effect of the proposals, particularly the dramatic Central Hotel, upon Edinburgh’s historic skyline was extremely important, particularly given that the site is located within a World Heritage Site.

The site is also located within an Air Quality Management Area. With this in mind, Waterman undertook an assessment of potential air quality impacts arising from the venting of the scheme’s proposed three level basement car park and assisted in redesigning the venting strategy to avoid any unacceptable adverse effects.

Together with our colleagues at RWDI-Anemos, the likely wind microclimate in and around the proposed scheme was assessed and appropriate mitigation measures were developed, particularly for the hotel’s upper level viewing decks. Assessments of potential rain ingress and snow drifting were carried out and particular care was taken to ensure an appropriate wind climate within the semi-enclosed galleria area.

Our acoustics team continues to provide detailed acoustic design advice to the architects and structural engineers as the detailed design of the scheme is finalised, with particular care to protect the amenity of existing and future residents in and around the development.

Waterman have also drafted a Construction Environmental Management Plan framework to ensure that future demolition and construction activities conform to the appropriate environmental regulations and guidance, particularly given the site’s sensitive location.

Construction for Edinburgh St James is scheduled to start in 2016 with completion due in 2020.

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