A Build to Rent platform set up by Macquarie Asset Management with British real estate industry veterans Darryl Flay and Martin Bellinger has purchased its first site in Scotland to deliver 338 homes for rent.
Situated to the north of Edinburgh city centre on the waterfront in trendy Leith, Goodstone Living has bought the 2.5-acre Ocean Drive site which, once complete, is set to include four mid-rise buildings of between 10 and 14 storeys.
The scheme will sit directly on Albert Docks with ‘unparalleled and uninterrupted views’ over the Firth of Forth to the north and Edinburgh’s historic city centre to the south.
The project will be only a few minutes’ walk away from Leith’s scenic waterside and creative hub known as ‘The Shore’. On offer in this area are Michelin star restaurants, stylish bars and a food precinct, whilst Ocean Terminal shopping centre provides a diverse mix of local dining, leisure and shopping options for residents.
The scheme is set to be boosted by the city’s tramline extension to Ocean Terminal, which is scheduled for completion in 2023 and will run directly past the development. This will enable a 10-minute commute into Edinburgh’s financial district, which is already within walking distance.
Goodstone Living aims to transform the vacant site into a ‘thriving rental community’ with more than 16,000 sq ft of amenity space including a gym, co-working space, a 24-hour on-site management team and communal rooftops to provide both waterfront and skyline views across Edinburgh.
The site, which already has a planning consent, is set to begin construction this summer. The waterside development will target a 50% reduction in carbon compared to current building regulations, with 25% of the site given over to affordable housing.
The scheme is likely to be popular among a young, hip crowd, with TimeOut, the travel and lifestyle magazine, last year rating Leith number four in its list of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world. This was up 20 places from 2018.
The platform argues that the Scottish capital is ‘highly attractive’ for BTR developers because of its strong fundamentals, which includes an outsized population of post-graduates and young professionals, and a higher proportion of renters (26%) than most of the UK.
Meanwhile, a 2020 report from JLL found that that 25-44 year olds make up 35% of Edinburgh’s population – higher than any European city. What’s more, just over half (51%) of Edinburgh’s workforce has a tertiary education, significantly higher than the global average of 34%.
Additionally, according to a report from Knight Frank and UCAS, Edinburgh boasts a student retention rate of 53%, ranking it higher than any UK city apart from London.
“With Edinburgh’s world-class financial district and university nearby, a vibrant restaurant scene, start-up community and an edgy mix of arts and culture, Leith is recognised not only as one of Britain’s most attractive rental neighbourhoods but one of the world’s,” Martin Bellinger, principal at Goodstone Living, commented.
“Edinburgh is one of our core markets because of its young, highly educated and growing population, pointing to a deep pool of future talent which is currently undersupplied with quality housing. Our strategy will continue to identify opportunities such as this where an undersupply of quality housing matches with key criteria for growth and further regeneration.”
He added: “As with our plans for Digbeth in Birmingham, our residential placemaking strategy is to offer a better quality of living while building healthy homes that are accessible to local residents. We will do this by using smarter design and creating facilities that respond to the way people live, work, play and relax in a post-pandemic world.”