Ocean Terminal: Edinburgh shopping centre to undergo £100 million redevelopment

Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal is to be transformed under multi-million plans to secure its future.
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The owners of the Leith centre have submitted a pre-application notice to Edinburgh City Council that will see the 20-year-old building open up to the waterfront.

The Ambassador Group, which bought Ocean Terminal in March last year, want to turn it into a gateway to the waterfront for the local community, adding to the wider regeneration of Leith.

All change: Ocean Terminal will be radically changed under the £100m proposals.All change: Ocean Terminal will be radically changed under the £100m proposals.
All change: Ocean Terminal will be radically changed under the £100m proposals.
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In June, it emerged that the empty Debenhams store and the next-door multi-storey car park appeared to be earmarked for the bulldozer, but there were no details of what would take their place.

At the time a spokeswoman for the shopping centre's owners would only say: “A letter requesting discussions with planning officers has been submitted. This is the very start of a long process, but these are exciting times for Leith and Ocean Terminal.”

However, the new masterplan for the site includes a new mixed-use space that maximises the waterfront location, creating a new linked entrance to the centre.

Under the plans, there will be a mix of indoor and outdoor space on the site of the existing north multi-storey car park and the former Debenhams store to allow the remaining building to be reconfigured with updated spaces for new commercial opportunities facing the waterfront.

A site diagram of the proposed redevelopment of Ocean TerminalA site diagram of the proposed redevelopment of Ocean Terminal
A site diagram of the proposed redevelopment of Ocean Terminal
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The final stage of the masterplan is to introduce a mix of housing on the waterfront, integrating with the trams to Newhaven extension and new local amenities.

Following the submission of the Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) today (18th August, 2021), Ocean Terminal will now conduct public consultation beginning with an online exhibition set to go live on September 23. A full planning application is expected in early 2022, with a view to start works later that year.

Chris Richardson, the managing director for Ambassador Investments, said the firm’s vision is for a sustainable place for shopping, relaxing, working and living that will make the most of the centre’s unique waterfront location and fully embraces new environmental standards. Throughout, there is a commitment to climate change mitigation and the promotion of sustainability, in line with Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Government net zero targets, through the use of energy efficient materials and low carbon energy generation.

Big changes are head for Ocean TerminalBig changes are head for Ocean Terminal
Big changes are head for Ocean Terminal
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Mr Richardson added: “We’re planning a transformational redevelopment that will finally realise Ocean Terminal’s potential as a leading waterfront destination, whilst placing the changing priorities of residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers centre stage. The retail industry and the local environment has evolved significantly in recent years and this redevelopment will create a sustainable destination that people will continue to enjoy for years to come.

“This is an exciting time for Ocean Terminal, and we look forward to sharing that vision as we move forward.”

First opened in 2001, Ocean Terminal currently occupies three floors and 420,000 sq ft of leisure, hospitality and retail units. Its tenants include M&S, Vue Cinema, H&M, Boots, Nando’s and Pizza Express, employing more than 625 on-site. The centre includes on-site car parking, but with the shift towards greener and active travel, it is now also on the cycle network and will be a key stop on the new Trams to Newhaven tramline.

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