A £6m investment programme to expand Ocean Terminal has been announced, reviving proposals for a boardwalk along the Capital’s shoreline, drawing day-trippers to the banks of the Forth.
Details of expansion plans for the shopping centre have been revealed, with a new hotel and flats being planned alongside extra shop space in a redeveloped atrium.
Ocean Terminal bosses are also holding out the prospect of a boardwalk along the western side of the shopping centre, allowing visitors to stroll past the historic Royal Yacht Britannia while browsing sea-front bars, restaurants and attractions.
The owners of Ocean Terminal, Resolution Property, say construction work on the expansion will create 70 jobs, with more following once work is completed.
An expanded 22,000 square foot branch of H&M has also been announced, opening in Autumn 2015.
Subjit Jassy of Resolution Property said the expansion would enhance the shopping experience for visitors as well as boosting the local economy.
He said: “At Ocean Terminal we’re working to create a retail, leisure and cultural destination which is unique to Edinburgh and Scotland.
“By combining major brands with exciting new pop-ups, food outlets and artists, we’re shaking up the mix and creating an experience you won’t find at other centres.”
Proposals for a boardwalk spanning the length of Edinburgh’s shoreline date back more than a decade, with city design champion Sir Terry Farrell proposing a “promenade” for the Capital’s Forth coast in 2004.
However, plans were never taken forward and four years later the architecture guru criticised a “lack of joined-up thinking” for holding back development, claiming: “The entire waterfront of Edinburgh should be regarded as the finest waterfront opportunity in the UK, if not Europe.”
The investment programme has been made possible following the rejection of an appeal by developers at Fort Kinnaird, where plans had been proposed to build a giant Debenhams store.
Owners of Ocean Terminal said the scheme would have sucked shoppers out of the city and threatened the financial success of one of Edinburgh’s biggest shopping centres.
However, the worry of the giant store being built was lifted when the Scottish Government planning reporter last month upheld city planning officials’ decision to reject the proposal, giving Ocean Terminal the green light to push ahead with its own expansion plans.
Ocean Terminal bosses welcomed the decision, saying that it would result in £3m of “immediate” investment, with another £3m to follow.
Ocean Terminal could get another boost within weeks, if councillors decide to back an extension of the city’s tram line as far as Newhaven at a meeting set for June.