Plans to turn historic St Andrew Square’s venue into new hotel

Developers S Harrison want to transform the Grade A listed Buchan House into a 72-room hotel. Picture: Contributed
Developers S Harrison want to transform the Grade A listed Buchan House into a 72-room hotel. Picture: Contributed
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A LISTED building in the heart of the Capital is to be given a new lease of life under plans to transform it into a 72-room hotel.

The proposals for Buchan House in St Andrew Square have been unveiled by developers S Harrison and also include restaurant and bar areas.

Located on the Queen Street side of the historic square, the main part of the Grade A listed building dates back to 1775, built originally as five houses by renowned architect and builder John Young.

It was used more recently as offices for computer giant IBM, which took occupation in 1974, but has since stood empty for a number of years. It forms part of the New Town Conservation Area and also the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

Now the team at S Harrison is hoping to breathe new life into the venue and, if their plans are approved, hope to get work under way early next year. Work on the 44,000 sqft site is expected to take around 15 months to complete.

David Clancy, development director at S Harrison, said: “Buchan House is steeped in history and was home to a wide range of eminent Edinburgh individuals, ranging from politicians, Lords and business leaders, during its time as a residential address.

“It also has a rich architectural heritage that is synonymous with the era in which it was built, and there’s no doubt it could make a truly magnificent hotel.

“Our proposed scheme is designed to reflect the heritage of Buchan House and its location on one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious and important squares.

“It will also complement all of the other work taking place on and around St Andrew Square, which will continue to attract business and leisure travellers from across the world into this part of the city.

“All of this combines to make it a really exciting time for 
Edinburgh as a whole.”

Last year the firm also completed work on a £23 million project on Leith Walk, which saw the creation of 226 student apartments and 11,500 sqft of retail and leisure space.

The plans mark the latest in a long line of development projects throughout St Andrew Square, with work also recently completed on Standard Life’s joint venture with Peveril Securities.

The development offers 165,000 square feet of retail, leisure and residential space.

Meanwhile work is under way to renovate the square’s historic former RBS headquarters into 50 serviced luxury apartments. Developers Lateral City plan to take advantage of the historic building’s original features by transforming its underground bank vault spaces into a fitness studio and gym and a speakeasy-style bar.

Interior designer for the development, Karen Brown, previously told the News the building was “brimming with original features”, all of which would be incorporated into the firm’s final designs.

Meanwhile the art-deco 4000 sqft banking hall will be restored to its former glory,featuring a restaurant run by Di Maggio’s and a coffee house / evening space under the responsibility of Bon Vivant.