Developer ditches offices for second Haymarket hotel

The inclusion of a second hotel at the Morrison Street site will not change the design of the buildings
The inclusion of a second hotel at the Morrison Street site will not change the design of the buildings
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The developers behind controversial proposals for one of Edinburgh’s most prominent gap sites are set to go back to city planners for a third time to alter their plans to include another hotel.

Irish firm Tiger Developments has confirmed that it will submit a new planning application for the £250 million development of the former Morrison Street goods yard at Haymarket.

It is now proposing to change the main building, originally earmarked solely for office use, to include a 200-bedroom hotel. It has not yet been confirmed what type of hotel would be built, but it will sit alongside another 245-bed hotel on the same site expected to be occupied by budget chain Travelodge.

A new planning application is expected to be submitted within months, with the change proposed because developers believe that they will have more success signing up hotel operators earlier than office tenants.

It will be the third time that Tiger has submitted a planning application for the site.

Its original proposals, including a 17-storey “leaf” hotel that was to be occupied by the Intercontinental Hotel Group, were approved by city planners but rejected by a Scottish Government public inquiry. Then new plans, including a smaller main building 35 metres tall, were approved by planners last year.

A spokesman for Tiger said: “We are receiving a lot of positive interest in the proposed Haymarket development across all sectors, including both office and hotel occupiers.

“We are particularly keen to capitalise on interest from the hotel sector as they tend to commit to proposed schemes earlier, and for longer, which adds greatly to the overall commercial value of the development.

“In this instance, we are confident that one of a number of nationally-known hotel occupiers will find Haymarket a perfect location, at the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre and business sector.

“The change-of-use application will not alter the massing of the building and will provide scope for a 200-room hotel.”

The site was purchased by Tiger in 2006 for £40m from the city council. The plans approved last year included a 245-bedroom hotel, offices, retail units and a mini supermarket.

Tiger has now informed planning officials that the new application will change the use of the large office building to a 200-bed hotel and possibly office space as well, but will not alter the design of the buildings.

Stewart Taylor, a director at property firm CB Richard Ellis, said: “There is certainly more activity in the hotel market and Edinburgh is on a lot of requirement lists.”