DEMOLITION work has begun at the former city centre headquarters of NHS Lothian ahead of its conversion into 318 students flats.
Deaconess House is to be refurbished in a joint £5 million development between Mace Graduation Student Living and Edinburgh University.
The Pleasance building’s striking facade, which dates from 1894, will be retained while the now disused library and nurses’ residence will both be demolished.
In their place three new buildings will be constructed around a central courtyard.
A completion date has been set for the 2014 academic year.
Mace purchased the listed building from NHS Lothian last year and planning permission was granted in April. The building was latterly the health authority’s headquarters before it moved to Waverley Gate in 2010. At that point it became surplus to requirements because of its ageing structure and poor insulation, causing utility bills to soar.
Jon Gorringe, finance director of Edinburgh University, said: “We have noted with interest the site and its journey from the sale last year – from the NHS through to planning – with an eye to including it within our portfolio.
“Mace has brought us a well thought out deliverable scheme which exactly fits with our future needs.”
Director for Mace and Graduation Student Living, David Grover said of the development: “This is an excellent solution to the demands the university has for quality accommodation.
“Mace has created a development that is consistent with the historic surroundings of the city and believes it will set a new quality benchmark.”