Old Town’s Canongate Venture earmarked for £150m luxury hotel

An artist's impression of the planned new hotel. Picture: contributed

An artist's impression of the planned new hotel. Picture: contributed

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A HISTORIC school building next to the Royal Mile is set to be transformed into a luxury boutique hotel as part of the £150 million New Waverley development.

The C-listed red sandstone Canongate Venture building, one of Edinburgh’s last remaining “School Board” designs of the late-Victorian era, will become a 21-room hotel with a restaurant. The work is due for completion by winter 2017 if final planning consent is given.

Hotel managers Apple Apartments are planning to convert the old schoolrooms into double-height serviced apartments.

They want to keep many of the school’s original features, such as the glass atrium and wooden floors.

Discussions for the in-house restaurant are understood to be underway with top London names and international chefs.

The restoration of the building is part of the latest phase of the New Waverley development, which aims to link the Royal Mile and Waverley station.

Heritage bodies attacked the plans. Marion Williams, Cockburn Association director, said: “There were hopes that this building would be turned into a community facility, not another hotel.

“Projects like this are destroying the Old Town, we are fed up and disgusted with it. There have been opportunities time and time again for more community facilities, none of which have been taken.”

Clive Wilding, project director for the New Waverley, said: “Apple Apartments is yet another brilliant addition for a location which is now delivering on its promises. Since the turn of the year we have opened two hotels on site and are shortly to complete another, the Adagio Aparthotel, connecting to the Royal Mile through an exciting new public square. We are also welcoming more independent traders to The Waverley Arches, a row of 15 converted Victorian arches which sits along from the Canongate Venture.

“This is all contributing to a major buzz about the area, bringing life and excitement back to what was once a neglected part of the city.”

The work, which will be carried out by Edinburgh-based Staran Architects, is due to begin in the autumn.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk