Historic banking HQ set for £2m restaurant makeover

Historic picture of the Royal Bank of Scotland in West Register Street.  Picture: TSPL

Historic picture of the Royal Bank of Scotland in West Register Street. Picture: TSPL

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A HISTORIC building once home to the Royal Bank of Scotland is set to undergo a multi-million pound transformation into a new family restaurant.

Italian chain Di Maggio’s will be moving into the iconic St Andrew Square building, which has lain empty in the heart of the Capital for several years.

42 St Andrew Square.

42 St Andrew Square.

Di Maggio’s is the first company to announce it is moving into The Registers development, with the £2 million establishment set to cater for 200 diners while boasting two bars.

And diners will be treated to a majestic setting, with the 9500 sq ft venue making the most of a double-height ceiling complete with original neoclassical and art deco features.

Spearheaded by The Chris Stewart Group, The Registers development will also bring more than 50 luxury serviced apartments, as well as new offices and shops, with work due to start next October.

Chris Stewart, the group’s chief executive, said: “The ambition The DRG has for the space, both in terms of design and quality offering, is a perfect fit for The Registers and we are delighted to welcome them as tenants. The building at 42 St Andrew Square is magnificent and as home to The Edinburgh Grand serviced apartments and now The DRG flagship restaurant, it will create a huge draw to this part of Edinburgh’s city centre.

“With a new pedestrianised area and public spaces, we are rejuvenating a once-neglected area to make something special.”

The former RBS building – which holds a grade A listing – was built over a six-year period between 1936 and 1942, with its design based on the style of American bank buildings from the 1930s.

However it fell into a state of neglect after the bank departed for its new Gogarburn headquarters eight years ago.

Plans for the new restaurant were revealed by Di Maggio’s restaurateurs Tony Conetta and Mario Gizzi.

Mr Conetta, managing director of The Di Maggio’s Restaurant Group (DRG), said: “This is an incredibly exciting project for us, in both an iconic building and location.

“The Edinburgh Grand’s banking hall is rich in history, both for the Capital and Scotland as a whole and by carefully retaining and restoring the many original features we will bring this heritage to 
life.

“Our luxury restaurant and bar offering will have a Scottish influence at its heart and will make a significant contribution to Edinburgh’s vibrant food and drink scene.”

Work on the new luxury restaurant will begin in October 2017, with its new neighbours set to include high street retailer TK Maxx and Mexican restaurant Wahaca.

Edinburgh Foody blogger Kerry Teakle welcomed the news and said it was good to see the Capital’s culinary scene expanding. She said: “It’s quite exciting what’s happening in St Andrew Square in terms of all the restaurants that are opening up there.

“It’s opening up that side of town because until now there’s only really been KFC and McDonald’s.

“Any new restaurant is always good.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk