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Phase one of St James Quarter officially opens

Posted: 24th June 2021

Following five years of construction, the most significant transformation Edinburgh has seen, St James Quarter, opened phase one of the 850,000 sq ft shopping galleria today (Thursday 24th June).


The completion of the first phase of the development brings a new, retail led, lifestyle district that fully integrates into and enhances Edinburgh’s City Centre providing an inspiring, attractive, and vibrant destination for locals and visitors to shop, eat and play.


Over 40 retailers welcomed the public through their doors on opening morning, many of which are debuting their brand in Scotland for the first time, including, & Other Stories, Stradivarius, Bershka, and Pull&Bear. H&M, Mango, Next – including its Victoria Secret offering, Rituals Tommy Hilfiger, Peloton, Salerno, Nordic Outdoor and many more also welcomed their first visitors to their new stores. As part of the development plans, John Lewis opened their newly renovated store in May, boasting a range of new services and experiences.


St James Quarter will also host several new concept stores including Zara, and Superdrug who have added a showcase Skinnydip stand for lifestyle and fashion accessories along with a Beauty Studio area for professional beauty treatments. Meanwhile Breitling opened its first standalone boutique in Edinburgh, and The Body Shop will open their first Activist Workshop store in Scotland. LEGO has unveiled to shoppers a bespoke Edinburgh themed LEGO mosaic, while IOLLA will be introducing a new experiential showroom with an interactive try on garden.


St James Quarter is committed to championing local brands – taking over Little King Street for the next 12 months are an array of local food and drink pop-ups including Harajuku Kitchen, Artisan Roast, The Mac Man and Churros, Baby? to keep shoppers energised whilst visiting the Quarter.


St James Quarter has also recently announced its exclusive partnership with Edinburgh Cocktail Week and will host a striking new al fresco Spritz Garden to kick off the opening celebrations.


With its prime location in the heart of Edinburgh, St James Quarter is set to become a welcoming, cultural and lifestyle hub for art, culture, and fashion. Through long-term partnerships with Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh Jazz & Blues and the Edinburgh Science Festivals – to name a few – the opening is set to complement the city’s world-renowned cultural offering and support its vibrant events calendar.


The £1bn development’s hospitality and residential elements are set to complete in three further phases through to 2022. When fully complete, St James Quarter will be a destination like no other – bringing together brands from global to local, and convenience to luxury. It features a shopping galleria with 80 different retailers, an enticing mix of restaurants, a Bonnie & Wild food hall, Scotland’s first W Edinburgh hotel, a boutique Everyman Cinema, a Roomzzz Aparthotel, residential apartments, and parking.


A number of brands will continue to join the line up in the coming weeks, including the Scottish foodhall, Bonnie & Wild, which opens next month, as well as Bross Bagels, The Kooples and Aeronautica.



When complete, in addition to the new shopping hub, St James Quarter will include:


  • A 244-bedroom W Edinburgh. The first in Scotland, the glamorous hotel will include a W Lounge, a signature restaurant, a W Sound Suite, FIT® – the ultimate workout facility – and an AWAY® Spa.
  • 152 New Eidyn apartments from Native Land. As well as stunning views from their ‘gardens in the sky’, the new homes will include a shared garden room and unparalleled residents’ services including full concierge service.
  • A 75-room Roomzzz Aparthotel. Complementing the scheme’s W Edinburgh, Roomzzz is providing stylish apartments with the personal touch for adventure, business and celebration. Guests can stay for one night, a week and up to a year.
  • Nine event spaces. An enviable events programme has been created across a range of new and attractive public spaces. Set to host a diverse range of pop-up fashion and music shows, the St James Quarter will link to the city’s rich cultural offering and events calendar.
  • A boutique Everyman Cinema. Debuting its first Edinburgh city cinema at the St James Quarter, the cinema will feature five screens and indulgent sofa seating.
  • A truly diverse dining experience with an enticing mix of restaurants. From fast food, fresh food, to family and restaurant dining, the St James Quarter boasts the first Bonnie & Wild Scottish food hall, Five Guys, @pizza and Scotland’s first The Alchemist.


Martin Perry, Director of Development for St James Quarter, commented: “This is a momentous occasion for the city of Edinburgh – and this is just the beginning. The brands and experience that we have welcomed today demonstrate our commitment to delivering a curated destination for the people of Edinburgh. We are now looking forward to continuing on our journey to deliver a truly mixed-use destination of the future as we welcome more brands, leisure, and our new neighbours.


“The impact of the pandemic has of course had a profound impact on UK retail. However, retail required a rethink long before the pandemic. The high street was already changing, which is why we have been continually working with our partners, retailers, and the city as whole to ensure that the St James Quarter continues to be enjoyed by generations to come.


“A new normal demands a new kind of retail destination, a development that can respond to an ever-changing situation, one that serves the needs of its community as well as overseas visitors. It is the reason we are focusing on creating a unique experience for our customers. There is something for everyone – which is why our occupiers are still focused on the long-term journey at St James Quarter.


“We believe in Edinburgh, and we are excited to help lead the way as part of the city’s wider economic recovery. Throughout this pandemic we have never questioned our investment in not just the St James Quarter but the city itself. We’re here to stay and we’re here to help.”


Nick Peel, Managing Director for St James Quarter, commented: “Today is the day we’ve been waiting for, for a long time – it marks the moment we bring a brand-new fashion district to Scotland.


“The brands opening their doors within St James Quarter are world-class and it’s great to so many retailers debuting in Scotland for the first time. From firm fashion favourites to local gems, there’s something for everyone.


“The St James Quarter team has been working tirelessly to ensure customer safety is the number one priority, so we have ensured all relevant measures are in place to allow people to enjoy the St James Quarter experience comfortably and safely. We look forward to welcoming guests over the coming weeks and to share what lies behind The Quarter with everyone.”


Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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