Edinburgh student flats block to be extended with 60 new apartments in the Old Town

By John Paul Clark

An Edinburgh student accommodation block could be renovated to include 60 new apartments.

The City of Edinburgh Council received the application from Empiric to renovate the current accommodation at 63 South Bridge & 1A Drummond Street.

The accommodation opposite to the Old College was acquired by Empiric in 2017 in a £7.5 million deal but now they want to do up the property.

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Empiric’s accommodation is made up of five adjoining tenement buildings in the city centre and currently accommodates 71 students but that will increase to over 100, if the council give the new apartments the green light.

The planning application shows that they have applied for a “part internal and external alterations, associated with modernisation of existing student accommodation, to create 60 student studio flats.”

After the deal in 2017 the accommodation was leased to the University of Edinburgh until March 2020, and Empiric intended to start renovation work at that date.

However, this was delayed due to Covid-19 and they are only just putting in an application for the works now.

The City of Edinburgh Council will consider the application and a decision will be made in the coming weeks and months.

In 2017, Tim Attlee, the acting chief executive of Empiric Student Property, has said previously of the plans: “South Bridge is our third acquisition in Edinburgh, a city of high quality higher education and a vibrant cultural capital.

“The property benefits from an existing lease with the University of Edinburgh, guaranteeing full occupancy for its remaining term.

“We are very pleased to acquire this property in a market with limited private sector, purpose-built student accommodation. This acquisition is in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns profile.”

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