Construction company confirm '˜demolition complete' at St James Centre
It has been confirmed that the demolition phase of Edinburgh's controversial St James redevelopment is complete.
Work on an £850m project in the area is now under way with completion due by 2020.
Often dubbed as the ugliest building in the Capital, work began on the destruction of the St James Centre in 2016.
A new project will see 850,000 sq ft of retail space, including a John Lewis store in the area.
As well as a number of shops, the development will offer a multi-screen cinema, a 214-room hotel and 150 private apartments.
Tim Kelly, the project director with Laing O’Rourke, the firm behind the new centre said: “Very shortly we shall be getting to the stage where we are starting to build back up the way, reconstructing the Edinburgh St James, so pouring concrete down the base and the base foundations and bringing the structure back up the way.”
Martin Perry, director of development, said: “We effectively designed what we call a Marmite building, it is either loved or hated but definitely gets a reaction.
“Whereas the rest of the development is designed to blend and fit into the environment. That building is designed to deliberately create a bit of a stir.”
Despite initial delight by most at the destruction of the St James Centre, concern has been raised about the new replacement, dubbed by some as the Walnut Whip, due to how it will fail to blend in with the surroundings of the Capital.
Adam Wilkinson director of Edinburgh World Heritage told the BBC: “We are feeling quite positive at the moment about how the city is looking forward in terms of its heritage.
“We have a council that is committed to world heritage status, we have a new world heritage site management plan agreed with the council, Historic Scotland and ourselves and it looks at a number of issues including specifically including the quality of development in the city and how we can get beyond the idea of things being just good enough.
“The council’s planning committee has stated very clearly that just good enough is not good enough for Edinburgh and that’s a position we strongly support.”