Hyatt Hotel deal was a race against time for fear of being scuppered by SNP/Green council – John McLellan

The deal to deliver the 349-bed Hyatt Hotel at Haymarket in partnership with the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is key to keeping the city on the international convention and business tourism map.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:45 pm
The new hotel complex in Haymarket
The new hotel complex in Haymarket

The EICC will run the seven-storey Hyatt Centric hotel under a franchise agreement, allowing it to guarantee rooms for conference delegates at competitive rates. With a training academy in partnership with Edinburgh College, it will also be the Scottish hospitality sector’s equivalent of a teaching hospital.

But the agreement was actually reached nearly two months ago, the same week as the council elections, amidst genuine concern the scheme would be scuppered by a new SNP-Green administration.

Despite the clear benefits, the previous SNP group was at best lukewarm about the plans and the Greens totally against because of their opposition to air travel specifically, and business and economic growth in general.

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To make matters worse, the board was losing its chair, SNP Councillor George Gordon, who fought a constant internal battle with less than enthusiastic Nationalist colleagues and had been dumped as a candidate.

So, council lawyers were in a race against the clock to agree the 25-year lease with site owner M&G Real Estate and the development partner Qmile Group before the May 5 vote in case the deal was ripped up.

As the SNP and Greens have had little to say about anything other than climate change and poverty action – and next to nothing about economic growth – since the election, those fears were well founded.