£150m Caltongate plan could start in early 2014

Artist's impressions give a taste of things to come off the Royal Mile. Picture: contributed
Artist's impressions give a taste of things to come off the Royal Mile. Picture: contributed
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FRESH images of a £150 million development that will plug one of Edinburgh’s most notorious gap sites have been revealed as the project takes a major step forward.

Detailed blueprints for the Caltongate complex – boasting a mix of leisure, retail and office space – have been submitted to City Chambers, including plans to create a large civic square within the five-acre development.

The site, linking the New Street area and Waverley Station with the Royal Mile, will be transformed into an urban centre of public spaces and independent retailers as well as homes and offices, if given the go-ahead.

More than 2,500 jobs will be generated from the project that will create offices, 400 hotel bedrooms and 28 retail business. A community centre may also form part of the radical vision that includes 145 residential units and 40 affordable homes.

It is claimed the development will generate an annual turnover for the area of £84m.

The consortium behind the development, Artisan Real Estate Investors, confirmed a detailed planning application had been lodged and said work could begin as early as spring 2014.

Lukas Nakos, Artisan’s
managing director, said the firm had now passed a “significant milestone” to progress
one of the most “challenging city centre developments anywhere in the United Kingdom”. He said: “During the last 18 months, we have listened to a huge variety of views and opinions on the development, and heard impassioned arguments relating to its unique importance, setting, heritage and community. Our planning application reflects this consultation process, and we feel we now have a proposal which balances commercial priorities with a genuine understanding of the area’s community and civic context.”

Buildings of historical importance such as the Canongate Venture and the façade of the Old Sailor’s Ark will be retained under the plans.

Hugh Rutherford, chairman of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said: “It is great news to see this moving in the right direction.

“The proposal will provide a massive boost to Edinburgh’s economy, as well as creating a much-needed development on a site which has been empty for some time.”