Construction partner confirmed for The Crescent at Donaldson’s

The lead contractor for a landmark development within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site has been confirmed.

Following the signing of a contract worth more than £30 million, BAM Construction will deliver the main shell and core structure of The Crescent by CALA Homes, a sweeping curve of 84 glass-fronted, contemporary new residences set within one of the Scottish capital’s most iconic locations. CALA’s own team will carry out the fit out of the apartments.

Also responsible for constructing Dundee’s V&A Museum of Design, BAM will progress work at the site which is set within the grounds of historic Donaldson’s College, renowned for the A-Listed Playfair building.

The entire development, worth more than £90 million, is among the most ambitious projects undertaken by CALA and will see the firm bring to life its vision for one of the most important sites in Scotland.

David McGrath, Managing Director of CALA Homes (East) said:

“This has been a major focus of ours for the past few years and we fully understand the responsibilities of developing within the World Heritage Site.

“In BAM, we are confident that we have a construction partner with the credentials and expertise to match our own high standards in delivering such an ambitious project.

“It is incredibly important to us that our partners understand the importance of this site and work with neighbours to minimise disruption as far as possible. BAM has proven that it shares these values.

“This promises to be a one-of- a-kind development that we are extremely proud to be part of. This appointment is the next step in realising the final, exciting design.”

Bruce Dickson, Regional Director of BAM Construction, said:

“CALA Homes is recognised as the pre-eminent developer of upmarket homes in Scotland.

“We are thrilled to be involved in such an ambitious project here at The Crescent. CALA Homes have brought BAM on board for our expertise in delivering major complex construction projects.

“It’s fair to say that this project has some challenges, but we've already been working in partnership together for over a year to resolve the majority of these before we put a shovel in the ground.

“Both of our teams are completely committed to delivering this really exciting project and its one that, once completed, will definitely be an impressive addition to Edinburgh’s architectural legacy.”

Preparatory work, also carried out by BAM Construction, started in May 2017 and involved a significant excavation to create the underground parking, part of the design intended to keep the site as free from cars as possible once it is completed and landscaped.

Following this, construction will commence on the westernmost half of the split crescent, to create a stylish, glass-fronted building which cleverly takes a number of design cues – primarily height and form – from the finest buildings in Edinburgh’s celebrated Georgian New Town.

The crescent form of the design itself has also been carefully considered to connect the site with a prominent feature of Georgian architecture, while perfectly complementing and interplaying with the Playfair building. Several examples of Georgian crescents exist in Edinburgh’s New Town. The turreted Playfair building is one of the most recognisable in Edinburgh and was most recently home to Donaldson’s School for the Deaf. Rising costs saw the school move to a purpose-built new campus in Linlithgow, West Lothian in 2008.

Thereafter the site, purchased by CALA Homes, was mothballed for a number of years, to take account of the economic downturn. During that period, the plans to restore the building and transform the wider location was painstakingly drawn up and approved, including extensive consultation with the local community and heritage groups. That saw CALA partner with heritage restoration specialists City & Country, which took on the conversion of the 1851 William Playfair building into a variety of apartments, a process which started in 2016.

The luxury homes in The Crescent will include garden flats, duplexes and penthouses, all boasting panoramic views of the Playfair building, the Edinburgh skyline and the Pentland Hills beyond, meaning owners will enjoy some of the most spectacular outlooks in the city.