Mixed-use Edinburgh scheme forward funded with Vita Group

Watkin Jones announces forward funding for a mixed-use development in Edinburgh – to leading living platform Vita Group.

Iona Street view of mixed-use development in Edinburgh - Watkin Jones | Vita Group | PBSA News
Iona Street view of mixed-use development in Edinburgh.

Watkin Jones announce exchange of contracts for the sale of a mixed-use development in Edinburgh which includes purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), Build to Rent and affordable housing. The c£47m transaction is on a forward funding basis for the PBSA and Build to Rent elements, and a forward commitment basis for the affordable element to leading living platform Vita Group. This is Watkin Jones’ first transaction with Vita Group.

“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.”

Max Bielby, Chief Operating Officer, Vita Group

The in-development scheme is on a former industrial site in Iona Street, close to the shopping and hospitality of Leith Walk. The development will deliver 285 rental homes made up of 205 managed student homes, and 60 Build to Rent and 20 affordable apartments. Residents will benefit from communal spaces, including lounges and a landscaped courtyard.

The car free, BREEAM ‘Very Good’ development is well positioned for sustainable transport located a 10-minute walk from central Edinburgh. The scheme will also benefit from the tram route extension, which is due to complete in 2023 and will reduce journey times to the city centre to 5 minutes. Onsite cycle storage will also be provided to residents.

“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.”

Alex Pease, Chief Investment Officer, Watkin Jones

Watkin Jones is a developer and manager of residential for rent – with a focus on the student accommodation and Build to Rent sectors. Fresh, the Group’s specialist accommodation management business manages over 22,000 student beds and Build to Rent apartments on behalf of its institutional clients.

Vita Group – founded in 2013 – started as one man’s mission to revolutionise student accommodation in the UK. Uninspired by characterless halls with no real attention or focus on providing an environment for students to succeed, Mark Stott wanted to re-address the balance and put students first, giving them the best start possible to ‘begin big.’

Starting with Vita Student Liverpool, over the last decade Vita Group has regenerated neighbourhoods, creating thriving communities. The Group has now evolved into an intelligence driven platform creating tomorrow’s city living. It’s represented by four unique lifestyle brands, in 23 locations, across 13 cities – with residents from over 100 countries.