WORK is under way to build nearly 400 new homes on Leith’s harbourside.
The Waterfront Plaza plan was given the go ahead last December despite contravening the council’s development plan.
But councillors backed Cala Homes to build 388 flats, offices and a cafe on derelict land opposite Ocean Terminal.
Council leader and Leith member Adam McVey said: “This development has a strong sense of place and strong understanding of Leith.
“I’m delighted that such a prominent patch of land in Leith which has been brownfield for so long is finally getting a development our community can be proud of.”
Plans include 82 affordable housing association homes and a further 15 delivered through the council’s Golden Share model.
It was orginally recommnded for refusal as the plot was earmarked for commercial use, but the project received backing from councillors and businesses.
Plans include a mix of homes from flats to large townhouses – and a modern take on the city’s iconic colonies.
Builders aim to finish homes by next summer with the first occupants moving in towards the end of the year.
Designers hope the new offices, park and café fronting Victoria Dock will draw more visitors to Leith.
Speaking following his visit to the site, Leith councillor Gordon Munro, said: “There has been a lot of talk over the years about what would happen here.
“At last ground is being broken. This is the catalyst for a lot more and will set the standard for what is to come.”
The breakdown of homes includes 33 semi-detached and terraced townhouses, 27 colonies, 328 apartments – as well as 29 groundfloor offices fronting Ocean Drive.
Hermiston-based Cala’s previous projects in the Capital incude Albert Dock and Trinity Park.
The firm also developed the former Royal Mail sorting office at Ten Brunswick Road and has been given the green light to redevelop the old Boroughmuir High School into homes.
Craig Lynes, Land Director at Cala Homes (East), said: “This is a milestone moment for Leith’s famous waterfront and will make a significant and tangible difference to the prosperity of the wider area.
“The community and key stakeholders have played a crucial role in helping us to get to this stage – as constructive feedback early on in the process helped us to amend plans in a way that really works.
“I would like to thank all of those who have positively engaged in the planning process and offered that support. By responding to the demand for a range of high-quality homes, improved public realm and connectivity to the Shore from Ocean Terminal, the site represents a success story for the council’s planning system. It has realised the potential of a brownfield site which has lain derelict for decades. We’re delighted to have now been able to welcome key supporters to the site start and thrilled to now be formally under way on such an important project.”