Plans submitted for Edinburgh’s Omni Centre revamp

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PROPOSALS to revamp and extend a popular city centre leisure complex have been submitted to council planning chiefs.

The Omni Centre would benefit from a new glass frontage, creating a “focal entry point” from Leith Street and an extra 7,000 sq ft of additional retail space as part of a single-storey extension if plans are approved by local authority bosses.

Artist impressions showing proposed redevelopment of Omni centre

Artist impressions showing proposed redevelopment of Omni centre

Owners TH Real Estate (THRE) say the development will “modernise and refurbish” the centre, which houses a Vue cinema and a number of well-known restaurant brands.

The plans will create a specific entrance to the cinema area, relocating the staircase and escalator to allow film fans easier access to the upstairs portion of the complex.

Columns located inside the centre will also be moved and straightened, while signage above the eateries is to be improved.

The proposed extension will absorb the currently vacant units on the lower floor while also adding an increased shop floor space, forming a single 16,920 sq ft area next to the current centre.

It will also involve removing the row of planters located next to the complex, though additional plant space will be created on top of the new extension.

The design and access statement submitted to council planning bosses reads: “The space as it exists is used as a through route between Leith Street and Greenside Row and affords a place to stop but this is not suited or used as such.”

“By re-proportioning the space with this in mind we are able to create a generous space between the two buildings more appropriate for its use.”

It continues: “The proposed space created between the extension and Calton Square is ample for its intended use and would be able to accommodate planters along the footpath.”

“A contemporary approach would add vibrancy and year-round interest giving animation to the space.”

THRE purchased the Omni in a £75 million deal shortly after the property investment firm started work on the nearby St James development.

Speaking in May 2017, THRE chief Michael Sales said he planned to transform the centre, which opened in 2001, into a “leisure destination”.

TH Real Estate director Andrew Rich previously added the development of the 200,000 sq ft leisure complex was an early sign that the St James revamp would lead to improvements in and around the Capital’s east end.

He said: “We strongly believe that the development of the St James Centre will transform the eastern end of Edinburgh, and that this will benefit the surrounding real estate, including the Omni Centre.”

It is hoped the redevelopment will help attract further footfall to the east end of Edinburgh’s city centre.

City planners will now consider the proposals.