Firethorn Trust makes first PBSA acquisition under Living platform

The acquisition at the Leith Walk development marks the first to be made under Firethorn Trust’s Living platform.

CGI of the recently acquired PBSA development at Leith Walk in Edinburgh | Firethorn Trust | PBSA News
CGI of the recently acquired PBSA development at Leith Walk in Edinburgh.

Privately-owned real estate developer, investor and asset manager – Firethorn Trust – has announced that under its Living platform, it has purchased a purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) site in Leith, Edinburgh.

Forming part of the Leith Walk regeneration scheme promoted by Calder Weir Properties, part of the site was purchased with planning permission to create a PBSA block and three commercial units.

Firethorn will develop the six-storey building that will include 230 student beds and residential amenities including a fully equipped gym, modern study spaces and student common rooms. Work on site is expected to start in the summer, with completion due in 2026/27.

The design specification, which was enhanced using AI technology, will feature sustainable elements to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and EPC ‘A’ ratings, including photovoltaic (PV) panels.

“Previously an underutilised brownfield site, the scheme is located in an area that continues to be the focus of major investment, driven by the recent opening of an adjacent tram line, which has significantly enhanced connectivity to the centre of Edinburgh.

“As our first acquisition for Firethorn Living, the scale and quality of this project represents our ambitious strategy to invest in prime university cities and help to address the growing supply and demand imbalance for modern student accommodation, whilst making a positive contribution to local regeneration.

“Firethorn is very well capitalised, and our dedicated, in-house Living and development teams are actively seeking more deal opportunities in the sector to add to our growing pipeline. The PBSA and Build to Rent markets offer strong potential for growth and we look forward to expanding our portfolio with future acquisitions in prime locations across the UK.”

Marcus Weeks, Director and Head of Living, Firethorn Trust

This is the first deal for Firethorn under its Living platform, which was launched in 2023 following the appointment of Marcus Weeks as Director and Head of Living.

Regarding the wider Leith Walk development, planning permission has been granted for two five-storey residential units that will provide a mix of Build to Rent and affordable housing. The owner has engaged Firethorn Living along with Calder Weir Properties to assist with the delivery of these residential units.