Edinburgh St James one year on

  • Project completes demolition as Laing O'Rourke marks one year on-site
  • Sustainability targets met and local community engagement praised
  • Construction begins shortly with a target opening date of 2020

What a difference a year makes: Edinburgh St James marks first year onsite

Laing O’Rourke, as the main contractor for the £1 billion Edinburgh St James project, has completed its first year onsite. Demolition of the former St James Shopping Centre and car parks is now completed, with work ongoing at the former Scottish Government building. 

Appointed by TH Real Estate in 2015 on a consultancy basis to advise on pre-construction work, Laing O’Rourke was appointed as the main contractor for the landmark 1.7 million sq ft project in October 2016, with demolition work commencing in the same month.

Designed by Allan Murray Architects, the development will comprise 850,000 sq ft of shopping space, 150 new homes, Edinburgh’s first Everyman cinema, and the UK’s second ever W Hotel.

Over the first year of work onsite, numerous Laing O’Rourke targets for environmental, sustainability, employability and training - as part of the scheme’s implementation plan - have been reached. 

These include recycling almost 100% of demolition waste, providing 200 days of work experience (from a combination of schools, universities, graduates and those not in education) and over 390 hours of volunteering carried out by the project team.

Tim Kelly, Project Director at Laing O’Rourke, said:

“From day one we’ve been aware of our responsibilities to manage such a complex city centre project, one which will make a big impact in Scotland’s capital in 2020. In keeping with a 21st century approach, we’ve been able to divert almost all of our waste materials from landfill, recycling the equivalent of 13,000 small family cars worth of waste to be reused on site again.

As we reflect briefly on year one, it’s great to not only complete demolition of the previous site but also be able to give residents an update on the numbers of local people we’ve employed, to highlight where we’re working with schools, universities and graduates, continuing to provide volunteering and work experience opportunities. These include Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, Calareidh respite centre, and the lessons our architects, digital engineers and construction team have taken part in at Drummond Community High School.”

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