Tron Kirk development: Edinburgh businessmen plan to save historic A-listed site through £2 million annual 'hybrid market' investment for building repair work
Two business owners in Edinburgh are planning to save the out of use Tron Kirk by transforming it into a £2 million annual investment for the city with the creation of around 30 to 40 jobs.
Gerry Gapinski of The Gapinski Studio and Workshop on St Marys Street and Colin Hope owner of The Knights Vault and Ancestral Name say they will create a hybrid of commercial and heritage operations on a long-term lease at the Tron.
Their plan hopes to see a high quality indoor market trading primarily in Scottish made goods sold by local businesses.
The revenue created by this will then go into restoring the historic building currently on the Buildings at Risk register.
From past figures of sales at the indoor markets, the local pair have worked out that they could bring in around £2 million annually.
Current estimates from Edinburgh World Heritage show the need for around £2.5m to repair the building.
Colin Hope said: “We both loved working in the place- there’s a fantastic atmosphere in the building.
"It’s partly driven by our colleagues to re-establish the market place to let small places begin to develop so they can then move on and get shops of their own.
"The project hopes to support around 30 to 40 jobs in Edinburgh.”
"The other aspect is that we want to see the building preserved and we think this is the way to do it.”
Despite Edinburgh World Heritage attempting to create the Edinburgh City Council-owned Kirk into a heritage site, the approach fell through.
However, the local businessmen believe their proposal will overcome the challenges faced by previous occupants and the council.
According to the proposal, rents from traders will be pooled and remaining profits will be invested in the building repair works.
Mr Hope said the first major repairs will be carried out on either the roof or the deteriorating stained glass windows.
The pair also hope to address the concerns of the building being placed on the at Buildings At Risk Register.
Mr Hope said: "Gerry and I worked there when it was a market and so we know how commercially successful it can be and the income it can generate.
"However, instead of that profit going to individuals, the profit will be put back into the building to start the repair programme.
"Our plan doesn’t rely on public sector or council funding or charitable funding – though we will try and get that if we can.”
The pair are also keen to improve the surrounding area after completing repair works to the Tron Kirk.
One idea is to recreate a Tron Weighing machine outside the building as reminder of the origins of the building’s name.
A paper is going to the councillors at the Finance Resources committee on May 20 with the local business men’s proposal.
Both have also written to the council seeking to discuss their proposal at the Council Committee tasked with deciding the future use of the Tron.
"Hopefully we can start a dialogue this year to develop this further but it is still early days”, added Mr Hope, “I am confident though that we will get huge support for it.”