‘Cause for optimism’ as city welcomes major developers

Plans to redevelop the Caltongate site have taken a major step forward

Plans to redevelop the Caltongate site have taken a major step forward

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A SERIES of major developments have been hailed as heralding green shoots of recovery in the Capital.

Plans for a £110 million development of student flats in the Old Town, proposals for a £20m hotel development and the approval of plans for flats at the Barnton Hotel have all been highlighted as a sign of recovery.

Graham Birse: The more developments we get, the more jobs and prosperity

Graham Birse: The more developments we get, the more jobs and prosperity

Experts said the developments, which came as plans to redevelop the Caltongate site took a major step forward, are good news for the whole city.

It is expected work will start on the student flats, offices, bars and restaurants in the Old Town next year, while the De Vere Group has said its plans for a £20m hotel on Crewe Road South will create 130 jobs and could be completed by 2014. Graham Birse of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce said: “It’s certainly a green shoot. This is great for the city because developments are not just good news for developers or land owners. They’re creating jobs and helping to facilitate economic growth. The more developments we get, the more jobs and prosperity.

“A number of developers are choosing Edinburgh because of the potential it offers.

“It’s important the city sends out the right signals to developers.

“[These announcements are] an early sign of growth. It does not mean that our economic problems are over but it’s a sign that the Capital remains attractive to developers and if we continue to create the right conditions and facilitate the right sort of support then developers will come here.”

In addition to the student flats and hotel developments, yesterday also saw another step forward in the long-running bid to redevelop the Caltongate site, as developer Artisan agreed a series of public realm improvements with the council. It will now draw up detailed plans for the site.

Work has also begun on the SoCo development in the Cowgate, while there are also proposals to redevelop Napier University’s Craigleith campus and build a new school in Portobello.

Earlier this month it was reported that the value of proposed developments in the city last year hit £10.6 billion – the highest level since the start of the recession, raising hopes that Edinburgh is thawing out from the economic frost.

Councillor Paul Edie, Lib Dem group leader and economic development spokesman, said: “These are very encouraging signs – really significant and important developments.

“There are a lot of good things going on and about to be started in the city and these announcements will add to that.

“I think we have weathered the worst of the recession in Edinburgh because we have a fairly diverse economy, with academia, strong public and voluntary sectors, light engineering, and a very strong science base and financial sector.

“There’s a lot of cause for optimism.”