Plans for New ‘Tech City’ at Edinburgh Airport Revealed

A disused runway at Edinburgh Airport has been selected to be transformed into a new tech city with the goal of attracting more investment and creating new jobs. 

Crosswind Developments, a newly-formed offshoot of Edinburgh Airport, has unveiled its plans to develop a new digital quarter beside Scotland’s busiest airport on a disused runway, the original RAF Turnhouse runway.

The goal is to create a site that will attract international technology companies to Edinburgh while at the same time encouraging Scottish businesses to thrive.

Alongside office and commercial buildings, developers say they will incorporate several hundred homes and leisure facilities with the goal of creating an environment people will want to live and work in. The proposed housing is likely to be affordable one and two-bedroom flats, mainly for rent.

The hope is that the new 150-acre “Crosswind” site will remedy Edinburgh’s lack of suitable office space, which the developers say has stopped top tech companies from locating in Edinburgh.

Due to Edinburgh’s range of benefits, which include a broad talent pull, attractive lifestyle, and excellent transport infrastructure, ambitions are high that the new site will attract major international companies to chose the city to locate.

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According to developers, the site will create a cluster of technology firms, resulting in up to 3,000 direct jobs and a further 1,000 indirect ones.

It’s likely that construction work will commence in two years time, but more detailed plans and a consultation with the community are expected later this year.

John Watson, chief executive of Crosswind Developments, said: “Edinburgh and Scotland should be ideal locations for global technology jobs, but without a dedicated approach to creating the kind of environment technology companies are looking for, it’s much harder to bring that investment here.

“These companies want modern, state-of-the-art offices, world-class connectivity, an environment that is attractive to its workforce with easy access to global connections. A pool of high-quality graduates is another important factor.

“Crosswind is, perhaps, one of the best connected, undeveloped sites in Scotland with immediate access to air, rail and road transport. It will have a focus on the kind of housing, working space and leisure facilities that people demand.

“Working with others, we believe we can make this one of the most attractive locations in the world for these companies, while also nurturing homegrown start-ups.”

Watson says that traditionally major tech firms have favoured big cities like New York, San Francisco, and London to base themselves, but now they prefer smaller centres like Amsterdam, Dublin, and Berlin as they offer shorter commutes, easier access to amenities, and a better work/life balance.

Edinburgh Airport Watch, a group that campaigns against increased aircraft noise, commented: “Without seeing the full proposals and what it will mean to the area, we welcome any initiative which creates real and sustainable jobs while avoiding further ground pollution and traffic problems.”

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