Moda and Osborne+Co acquire Edinburgh Saica factory site

Moda and Osborne+Co JV acquires Saica packaging factory site in West Edinburgh to create a new residential-led masterplan.

Saica packaging factory site in West Edinburgh, which will be transformed into a new residential-led masterplan - Osborne+Co | BTR News
Saica packaging factory site in West Edinburgh, which will be transformed into a new residential-led masterplan.

Build to Rent developer and operator – Moda Living – and mixed-use developer – Osborne+Co – acquire the 15.5-acre Saica packaging factory site in West Edinburgh to create a new residential-led district. The vision aligns with the Edinburgh City Plan 2030 – to transform the west of the city into a ‘high-density mixed-use extension to the city with a focus on placemaking, sustainability, connectivity and biodiversity’. Savills acted for Saica Packaging in the sale.

“We are delighted to have concluded the conditional sale to Moda and Osborne. In a hotly contested disposal process their vision for a truly mixed-use gateway development for Edinburgh was compelling. This new urban quarter will become a residential hub for the west of the city. It is very exciting to see a multi-tenure development, incorporating Build to Rent, come forward at this scale.”

Acting on behalf of Saica, Ben Brough, Head of Residential Development, Savills

Saica, the Spain-based paper and cardboard company is active in ten European countries. It will shortly be moving to a new purpose-built facility in Livingston demonstrating further commitment to Scotland.

“When it came to assessing the multiple bids received for this site, Saica selected Moda and Osborne due to the consortium’s commitment to creating a new neighbourhood with appropriate amenities and infrastructure. This is very much in line with our own strategy of building sustainable communities in the places we operate.” 

Adam Haycock, Regional Director Scotland, Saica

Pre-application discussions and community engagement and consultations for the new scheme will begin within the coming months. The team aims to submit outline planning to City of Edinburgh Council within the next 12 months.

The Saica packaging factory site is located at Edinburgh Gateway rail and tram interchange. Subject to planning, the joint venture will transform the site into a new urban quarter, revitalising the long-standing industrial area.

The masterplan will deliver a vibrant range of new homes across a mix of tenures – including Build to Rent and a substantial affordable housing provision, workspaces and community amenities, as well as a sustainable neighbourhood public realm and access to a new transport hub.

“The acquisition of the Saica site is an exciting and evolutionary addition to our portfolio, again reinforcing our commitment, strategy and long-term vision in Scotland. We are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Moda to realise a truly transformational opportunity. 

“As a priority, we will work in collaboration with all our vital stakeholders to shape and deliver on a vision to create a neighbourhood that enriches the existing, thriving community that is designed around accessible and sustainable housing options. We always strive to be good neighbours and hope to bring significant benefits to the community, whether that’s boosting the local economy through employment opportunities, growing the available supply of housing or giving back to the communities we work in.”

Will Hean, Development Director, Osborne+Co

The residential masterplan has the potential to accommodate over 1,000 homes across the tenure and pricing spectrum, will aim to include a mix of studio, one- two- and three-bedroom apartments alongside townhouses, which responds to what has been an imbalance in demand and supply across the city.

Moda’s new next generation neighbourhood will also boast plentiful green space and placemaking initiatives, helping to create a sense of belonging and boosting the existing surrounding community, while commercial opportunities will also be made available.

The new neighbourhood will also prioritise strong sustainability credentials, and is aiming to achieve the global ESG benchmark (GRESB) and three-star Fitwel accreditation.

“This is a hugely important site for Moda. Working with Osborne, we are excited to deliver a fantastic next generation neighbourhood that will form the beating heart of west Edinburgh, providing much-needed new homes along with outstanding new public realm and intended connectivity with the transport interchange at Edinburgh Gateway.

“As with all Moda neighbourhoods, this site will be designed, built, and operated around ESG, targeting net zero operations, outstanding resident service and experience, health and wellbeing and using the latest innovation and digital infrastructure to deliver an unparalleled customer experience. We have solid confidence in the Scottish market and as a family company with a long-term view, it is crucial we continue to invest, develop, and operate at scale whilst remaining a trusted partner of the city.”

Oscar Brooks, Director, Moda Living

The Saica site development is the third lined up by the joint venture between Moda and Osborne+Co. Outline planning has been submitted for Lancefield Quay in Glasgow for 730 Build to Rent units, which will breathe new life into a city centre site that has been vacant for over seven years. Last year the joint venture also announced plans to develop a mixed-use campus at Belfast Waterside, transforming a key strategic city centre site with over 600 homes and 1m sq ft of office space.  

Saica will be Moda’s second major development site in Edinburgh and fourth in Scotland – which makes it the country’s largest Build to Rent developer operator. Last month, the 500-home Moda, The McEwan, welcomed its first residents and was named Build to Rent Development of the Year at the Scottish Property Awards. Osborne+Co has also acquired several sites in Glasgow, whilst in turn building positive relationships with planning teams and key stakeholders and helping to underline its commitment to Scotland.

Last year Moda, The McEwan in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge district became Europe’s first project to achieve the highest Fitwel rating of three stars, proving the design and operation of the neighbourhood is centred on the wellness, happiness and lifestyle of its residents.