Vita acquires Watkin Jones Edinburgh development

HELLO and welcome the AM Business Briefing, as Watkin Jones, the developer and manager of residential for rent homes, has hailed the exchange of contracts for the sale of a 285 build to rent, student and affordable homes development in the Scottish capital.

The £47m transaction is on a forward funding basis for the BTR and PBSA elements, and a forward commitment basis for the affordable element to leading living platform Vita Group, in Watkin Jones’ first transaction with Vita.

The in-development scheme is on a former industrial site in Iona Street, close to the shopping and hospitality of Leith Walk, and will create 285 rental homes made up of 60 BTR and 20 affordable apartments, alongside 205 managed student homes.

Residents of the development will have communal spaces, including lounges and a landscaped courtyard.

It will be along the tram route extension, which is due for completion in 2023 and will reduce journey times to the city centre to five minutes. Cycle storage will also be provided on site.


Alex Pease, chief investment officer of Watkin Jones, said: “Edinburgh is an amazing city that people understandably want to make their home, but there is a very serious shortage of rental housing of all types that is having a real impact on people’s lives. Every additional home built reduces that pressure.

“This balanced scheme will bring new sustainable homes to the centre of the city, forming a thriving community that will be desirable to live in for decades, a concept that matches our, and Vita’s values and I look forward to continuing to build our relationship.”

Max Bielby, chief operating officer at Vita Group said: “We’re delighted to acquire this development from Watkin Jones. Boasting a prime location with unrivalled access to the city and its universities, it will soon be transformed into a thriving Vita community, supporting the requirements of the city, and helping to satisfy rental demand. We’re excited to build upon Watkin Jones’ great plans and extend our reach in the city.”

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Businesses across the country have plans in place to help Scotland reduce its carbon emissions and combat climate change, with many firms setting their own net zero targets.

COP26 underlined how urgently we must now make progress against these plans. While operational changes, such as using renewable energy and incentivising staff to use public transport, are undoubtedly effective, in isolation they are not enough to turn the tide.

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