S Harrison starts works on multi-million-pound Edinburgh PBSA

Work begins on S Harrison's new multimillion-pound Edinburgh purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) development following contractor appointment.

S Harrison begins works at the East Newington Place Edinburgh PBSA site | PBSA News
S Harrison begins works at the East Newington Place Edinburgh PBSA site.

Property development company, S Harrison, has appointed longstanding Scottish construction company, Thomas Johnstone Ltd, to build a new PBSA scheme just off Newington Road, with work starting on the new Edinburgh PBSA scheme this month.

The development, on East Newington Place, has seen an old, disused commercial unit demolished and construction will start in late June on a modern, energy-efficient four storey building with 65 studio rooms. There will also be a multimedia room, gym, break out space, cycle storage and open courtyard.

The scheme has been designed with superb sustainability credentials and it will be heated using air source heat pumps rather than gas, which will give it an EPC rating of A.

“We’re very pleased to appoint a reputable and longstanding local contractor on this project, which will give a brownfield site in a popular Conservation Area a new lease of life.

“We’re now looking forward to work starting in June and we’ll continue to work closely with the local community throughout the project to maintain and build on the strong relationships that we worked hard to forge throughout the planning process.”

David Clancy, S Harrison

East Newington Place is located within easy walking distance of the main city centre campus of the University of Edinburgh as well as benefitting from all the local area’s amenities. Work on the development will complete in autumn 2025.

Thomas Johnstone Ltd, established in 1868, will run the project from its Edinburgh office.

“With several high quality PBSA schemes in our portfolio, a wealth of experience throughout our 156 years of delivering excellence, and an established supply chain in the local area, this contract plays to our strengths and we’re excited to get started.” 

Gordon Cameron, Regional Construction Director, Thomas Johnstone

S Harrison’s PBSA funding deal

Earlier this year S Harrison agreed a forward funding deal with Singapore headquartered Q Investment Partners (QIP) to deliver the East Newington Place scheme, along with a second 76-bedroom PBSA development in the historic surroundings of Canongate, just behind the Royal Mile, which will complete in time for the start of the 2026 academic year.

The QIP Development Group forms part of QIP’s vertically integrated real estate platform and their UK team continues to expand its domestic footprint through forward fund and joint venture development projects.

“We are pleased to be adding another asset to our UK PBSA portfolio in collaboration with our capital partner ARES Management. QIP DG have been working closely with S Harrison across multiple schemes over the last 12 months to further enhance our product offering in UKPBSA, and this project represents our fourth asset within the Edinburgh submarket.” 

James Coppack, QIP Development Group

Developed markets

QIP is a global leader in purpose-built residential real estate. As a fully integrated platform, QIP creates best-in-class living assets including PBSA and multifamily housing. The company invests in developed markets across the globe such as the UK, US and Japan, and currently manages approximately 2,200 beds across tier-1 student cities.

S Harrison has successfully delivered numerous PBSA schemes in Edinburgh, York and Leeds totalling thousands of bedrooms. The company has made a substantial investment in Edinburgh in recent years and this summer will also start work transforming a 1970s office building in the Haymarket area into a stunning new hotel for international hotel operator MEININGER. S Harrison will hold the completed investment, further strengthening the company’s property portfolio.

In addition, the planning committee recently confirmed they are minded to grant planning consent for Ocean Point 2 – a major new £80m mixed-use development in a prime waterfront location in Leith. The development will comprise of residential and PBSA, along with commercial, co-working and amenity space.

The redevelopment of the brownfield site will be spread across two buildings and will include 404-student bedrooms and 112 Build to Rent. In addition, the commercial space, co-working areas and amenity space will offer an attractive frontage onto Ocean Drive, as well as greatly enhancing the public realm.

Recently Glencairn secured planning for an Edinburgh PBSA scheme. The landmark building will rise from a busy juncture of the Merchiston, Dalry, Fountainbridge, and Slateford districts.