There’s no denying the appeal of a brand-new home but what if you could have the best of both worlds – a modern and contemporary living space that sensitively embraces the charm and character of the past?
In Edinburgh, the £120 million restoration of a former industrial landmark has created exactly that – a stunning new development of beautifully designed apartment buildings that integrates seamlessly with its urban heritage.
Reliving the history
The Engine Yard on Leith Walk – one of Places for People’s most ambitious regeneration projects to date – is being built on the site of Edinburgh’s historic tram depot, where workshops and an engine room once housed the winding gear for the city’s famous cable-hauled trams, the last of which ran in 1923.
An electric version followed but just thirty-three years later, on Friday 16 November 1956, this too made its final journey into the depot. After being repurposed as a bus depot, a museum and finally a Fringe venue the entire site – consisting of tramsheds, a chimney, a boundary wall and gables – was left to lie derelict for decades.
Lovingly restoring the development back to life – a nod to the past
Happily, these iconic industrial structures – all listed – are now being lovingly resurrected as part of an architecturally distinctive, urban community in an area that is fast becoming one of Edinburgh’s most exciting new places to live.
The homes themselves – a collection of luxury 1- and 2- bedroom apartments and penthouses – encompass a modern, open-plan design that maximises space and light, with some benefitting from a private balcony or terrace – the perfect spot to enjoy views of Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside.
However, it’s the development’s historic framework, and its pedestrian streetscape of pathways, gardens and public spaces, where The Engine Yard’s former glory has been so cleverly brought back to life.
Here, the lovingly restored workshops and engine sheds team well with seven new apartment buildings, laid around the Engine Yard’s main walkway, with the former tram depot’s distinctive redbrick chimney acting as a focal point.
The walkway features a paved reinterpretation of the historic tram tracks, allowing you to retrace the circular movement of the old cable winding gear, as the cable was wound around the big pulley wheels.
Even the building materials have been chosen to complement the redbrick style of the original buildings – the perfect fusion of old and new.
Our landscape architects have continued their heritage-led design into a variety of public and private spaces, whose arbours and ‘pocket rooms’ offer a place to relax among the greenery and inspired tram-shaped planters – framed by the site’s imposing boundary wall.
In a playful nod to the past – there are also timber deck seats evocative of the original tram benches!
All in all, this is an exceptionally captivating setting to call home, as one of the Engine Yard’s newest residents describes:
“The old tram sheds really are beautiful structures and the developers have done an amazing job of transporting the legacy of the tram yard into the new spaces, blending the old with the new.
“My new apartment is right next to the old tram yard wall – a beautiful tall red-brick structure that I now get to look at every day!”
Beyond the exceptional design and preservation of heritage, this unique neighbourhood is also superbly located in lively Leith – just 15 minutes’ walk from the city and packed with wonderfully eclectic shops, delis, bars and restaurants.
But the story doesn’t end there
In 2023, work is due to complete on a new tramway extension that will connect the Engine Yard to the city centre in under 5 minutes. More than 120 years since the original tram depot first opened, the city’s trams are finally coming home.
The Engine Yard’s 1- and 2-bedroom homes – priced from £225,000 – are available to move into now with each home maximising space and light. Discover more today...
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