DERELICT council buildings located in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle have been put up for sale – sparking hopes an “abandoned” corner of the city centre is set for major regeneration.
The former offices and storage premises on King’s Stables Road are being offered as a “prime mixed-use” opportunity in one of the Capital’s most historic districts.
Hopes are high that the 5300 sq m site, which links the Grassmarket and Exchange business districts, will become a landmark development of shops, apartments and hotels.
It is not yet known how much is being sought for the buildings but city leaders have predicted a flood of interest.
King’s Stables Road was last year identified as one of 12 “priority” development sites seen as crucial to the Capital’s economic future.
The sale offer has been welcomed by business and resident leaders, who said they were “heartened” to hear the area could soon be given a new lease of life.
Fawns Reid, chair of the Greater Grassmarket business improvement district, said: “We thought it was somewhere that needed to be massively improved – it was deliberate policy [to include it] and it’s really heartening to see it has now gone up for sale.
“I think it will be of considerable benefit to the area. It will provide a great route through [from the West End] and if it’s a vibrant hub, it would be fantastic.”
Although many of the buildings are now empty and decaying, the site has a rich history, with maps from as far back as 1852 indicating it was once the location of a slaughter house.
The thoroughfare was latterly used as a base for Edinburgh’s lighting and cleansing departments.
Ms Reid said the arrival of a range of new shops would be particularly beneficial to the wider Grassmarket area.
“I think it would be nice to have retail along there,” she said. “It would provide the critical mass which would encourage more people to come to the Grassmarket.
“[The buildings] are in quite poor condition and the refurbishment is long overdue. There are people living in flats [next to the buildings] and it’s been a concern for them that the yard at the back is derelict.”
City chiefs said they were confident a buyer would be found soon.
A spokeswoman said: “This property is considered surplus to the council’s requirements. It is anticipated that a significant amount of interest will be received due to the location.”