South African developer Artisan Real Estate Investors has been developing the 7.5 acre New Waverley site in Edinburgh’s Old Town for more than four years and was attracted by the city’s strong credentials as a business and tourism destination.
Edinburgh has remained strong in the global market as a destination for businesses, on the back of its fantastic university credentials and a strong airport. It’s also a very big base for tourism, and I think all of these factors add up to a great place to invest.Clive Wilding, property director, Artisan Real Estate UK
The New Waverley site includes more than 160,000 sq ft of new office space for 3,500 people, three hotels, 400 hotel rooms, 140 residential units, a new public square and an artisan retail hub known as the Waverley Arches. This is a row of 19 renovated Victorian arches on Edinburgh’s East Market Street housing independent retailers of fashion, food and drink, homewares and art.
“Waverley Arches was very much about encouraging entrepreneurial and artisan retailers into the area to create a distinctive destination and walking experience through from Waverley Station to the square and onto the Royal Mile,” Wilding explained.
“The units are designed so they can accommodate new and exciting businesses that themselves make it a pleasure and joy to walk past and stop and spend a few minutes making a purchase or two.”
Artisan focuses on mixed use city centre developments and only invests in sites that are within ten minutes’ walk of a main transport hub. New Waverley ticked all of these boxes, in a world class city.
“Edinburgh is the capital for Scotland and as a city is a joy to walk around, with a really good quality of life balance, supported by a multitude of different businesses,” Wilding said. “In terms of its ecosystem, what I would say is that, like London, Edinburgh is made up of a series of small towns and places. This makes local sustainability work well, with each small district standing on its own two sustainable feet.”
“They’ve provided a lot of support,” Wilding said.
“This has included helping us extensively promote New Waverley as a keystone urban development at international real estate showcases like MIPIM in Cannes and Expo Real in Munich."
"This has been hugely valuable – particularly in getting global investors to understand the need for regeneration – and successful regeneration.”
Edinburgh’s investor support team has also helped profile New Waverley and Artisan Real Estate Investors in the Invest Edinburgh Magazine, international publications and digital content, reaching a global audience of nearly 19,000 influencers, followers and readers. This has helped Artisan boost its profile among existing and potential partners and funders.
“We work with partners in local authorities, and with various funds and operators,” Wilding explained. “A lot of our investment is from overseas, from partners investing in the UK through Artisan – because they believe, like us, in getting better value from mixed use sites in city centre locations.”
Looking ahead, phase two of the New Waverley project – featuring 200,000 sq ft of new Grade A office space over two buildings, connected by a double height link bridge – will help cement the site’s role as a new ‘urban quarter’ for Edinburgh.
Latest research suggests the completed development will generate around £84m a year in annual turnover, contributing some £43m of economic value to the local economy each year.
“Occupiers increasingly want to be located in Edinburgh’s city centre and are increasingly seeking established ‘destination’ locations that combine leisure, culture, eating and retail opportunities – while being linked to efficient and accessible transport hubs like Waverley Station,” Wilding said.
“Edinburgh, in particular, now represents a major share of Artisan’s UK investment holdings and we are looking forward to completing phase two of the New Waverley development.
Artisan sees the successful delivery of this project as a platform not just for long-term investment in Edinburgh and Scotland – but across Europe.”
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.