Plans to transform Haymarket office block into hotel

PLANS to transform an office block in the West End of the Capital into a new 157-room hotel complex have been submitted to city chiefs.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 5th July 2018, 6:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th July 2018, 8:21 pm
A 1970s office building within the West Coates area, just west of Edinburghs city centre, could be converted into a 157-bedroom hotel
A 1970s office building within the West Coates area, just west of Edinburghs city centre, could be converted into a 157-bedroom hotel

Osborne House could become the capital’s latest hotel project if proposals by developers S Harrison are given the go-ahead by planning officials.

The 1970s office block, located opposite the former Donaldson’s College building near Haymarket, was designed by modernist architects Morris and Steedman, but has failed to successfully attract tenants in recent years.

According to the developers, the office space is at only 60 per cent capacity, while the interior has been described as “unfit” for modern tenants.

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Osborne House on Haymarket Terrace as it now stands

However, the project could mean a number of charities, including Capability Scotland, would be searching for new offices if plans were approved.

The Yorkshire-based developers purchased the building from former owners Osborne Terrace Ltd in January for an “undisclosed” sum.

Ann Scott, managing director of S Harrison, explained the firm aimed to give the building “a new lease of life,” adding: “The building has been marketed for commercial rent for a long period of time and it has struggled to attract new tenants.

“Its set structure and façade, combined with insufficient escape stairs and staff facilities, have meant that it couldn’t even be divided into smaller office units, as it’s just not up to acceptable modern standards.”

Preliminary sketches for the site show a new glass-fronted top floor and a new “aluminium-clad” extension at the back of the property on Devon Place, replacing an existing single-storey outbuilding.

The rear courtyard would also be replaced by a lower extension wing, with chamfered windows installed to retain privacy for surrounding properties.

The development is the fourth project brought forward in the city by the firm. Previous developments have included the Haddington Place site on Leith Walk and the redevelopment of Buchan House on St Andrew Square.

In 2017, the firm also purchased a site on Leith’s waterfront, though no plans for that project have been unveiled as yet.

Mrs Scott added: “Located in a prominent corner position, Osborne House benefits from excellent transport connections and is an ideal location for a hotel.

“It could give Osborne House a new lease of life.”