A NEW hotel is to be built on part of the former Fountain Brewery site in what residents say will provide a major boost to the area.
The company behind the Springside development has confirmed that a site originally earmarked for an office complex is now set to become a hotel.
A Glasgow-based developer is preparing to lodge plans for its proposals, which are expected to be for a four-star hotel with 181 bedrooms, making it among the largest hotels in Edinburgh.
A masterplan for the regeneration of the Fountainbridge area has been slow to get going in recent years because of the economic downturn, but developers hope that the hotel plan can help trigger further expansion of the area, which benefits from being next to Edinburgh’s financial district and the Union Canal.
Robin Blacklock, senior development manager at Grosvenor, which owns the Springside site, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to secure a top-quality hotel operator for the city and for Springside.
“Not only does this introduce a level of amenity not immediately available in the vicinity, but it can also act as a catalyst for further development in the area and bring new jobs.
“It is important that we continue to bring a mix of uses to ensure that we build a sustainable community that offers a real vibrancy to compliment Edinburgh city centre.
“It is an exciting time for Fountainbridge with the prospect of a new school, more student accommodation under way and the sales of apartments at Springside going well.
“Despite a tough economic climate, our continued investment in the area really is ensuring that Fountainbridge comes alive.”
Property firm ESD Glasgow is planning to lodge a full planning application for the hotel in the coming months, although it is not yet known who the operator would be.
It is seen as a prime site, next to the apartments and student housing that have already been developed at Springside and a series of offices that were built at the height of the property boom as an extension of Edinburgh’s financial district.
It is also opposite a site Lloyds Banking Group is in the process of selling to the city council, which intends to build a new Boroughmuir High School on a section of the land and sell the rest to a developer.
Ann Wigglesworth, secretary of Tollcross Community Council, said: “The community council felt that the hotel would bring more activity into the area, especially in the evening, than if it was yet another block of offices, so we are in favour of the change to a hotel.
“There so many empty offices in the area already that we don’t need any more.”
The proposed hotel site is in the south-east corner of the Springside site.
Nobody at ESD Glasgow was available to comment on its plans.