TWO new hotels are set to be opened in the West End – cementing the area’s recovery from disruption caused by tram works.
Budget brand Sleeperz has applied to convert an office space in Shandwick Place into a 43-room operation on three floors.
And on the same street, MC West End Ltd has submitted a bid to turn a hostel into a “boutique hotel”.
The proposals come after the area was badly affected by years of closures due to tramline construction, with footfall plunging, firms closing and leases put up for sale.
Business figures today welcomed news of the hotel applications, which are being considered by city planners, and said they were evidence of the West End’s commercial and economic resurgence.
Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute, and formerly managing director of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “When you think about it, from a hotel developer’s point of view, a location smack in the city centre, 30 minutes from the airport and with all of the services around it – food, drink, entertainment and shops – is always going to be attractive.
“Shandwick Place was in a very bad place during the tram works – it was very much left in the trenches and it was difficult to see then what the substantial benefit would be.
“When I was at the Chamber of Commerce, I said the long-term benefit would be manifested in economic development and investment, and that’s what these two hotels represent.”
City marketing leaders said the proposals were a positive sign.
John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “It’s terrific to see the quantity and calibre of new hotels, bars and restaurants opening in the West End, all of which clearly demonstrate the ongoing development of the area over the last two years.”
Plans for new hotels in the West End come after traders last year voted to launch the area’s business improvement district (BID), which is aimed at ensuring its revival.
As part of the BID scheme, business owners – including those who opposed it – will pay a compulsory levy towards improved signage, marketing and cleaner streets.
Cash will also be set aside for a Keep Scotland Beautiful assessment on how to improve the area’s appearance.
It is expected that the BID scheme will raise £115,000 a year to invest directly back into the area. Of the money generated, 40 per cent will go on marketing to “drive footfall”, while 20 per cent will be spent on “developing the area” itself.
Around 28 per cent is to be invested in running the company which manages the BID.