India's 'Scooter King' reveals intentions to build hotel and student flats in Edinburgh

Sunil Kant Munjal is set to open a hotel on the site of the HMRC offices at Elgin HouseSunil Kant Munjal is set to open a hotel on the site of the HMRC offices at Elgin House
Sunil Kant Munjal is set to open a hotel on the site of the HMRC offices at Elgin House | Getty Images
The plans are for the HMRC offices at Elgin House in Haymarket Yards.

One of India’s most successful business moguls is set to demolish an office block housing HMRC in Edinburgh as part of an ambitious development which will see a hotel and student accomodation constructed instead.

Sunil Kant Munjal, who helped build one of India and the world’s largest bicycle makers into a hugely successful scooter and motorbike manufacturer, is set to redevelop Elgin House at Haymarket Yards which is home to several hundred HMRC employees.

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The plans, set to be submitted to Edinburgh City Council, include proposals for a hotel, a student accommodation block and the construction of some offices.

Founder and chairman Hero Motocrop Brij Mohan Lall Munjal (R) and then joint managing director Hero Motocrop Sunil Kant Munjal pose with newly launched products at a function in New Delhi in 2012.Founder and chairman Hero Motocrop Brij Mohan Lall Munjal (R) and then joint managing director Hero Motocrop Sunil Kant Munjal pose with newly launched products at a function in New Delhi in 2012.
Founder and chairman Hero Motocrop Brij Mohan Lall Munjal (R) and then joint managing director Hero Motocrop Sunil Kant Munjal pose with newly launched products at a function in New Delhi in 2012. | Getty Images

The existing building will be demolished as part of the process, but detailed plans are yet to be submitted with the council’s Development Management Sub Committee set to ‘note’ the proposal of application notice (PAN) from the developers.

Mr Munjal is the former managing director of Hero MotorCorp and is chairman at Hero Enterprise, and the Elgin House development is one of the first forays into the hospitality sector in Edinburgh and follows the announcement of a £500m partnership between Hero Enterprise and asset mangers Catalyst Capital to create Hero Catalyst Hospitality Ventures.

The joint venture is focued on investing in and developing hotels, serviced apartments in the UK and Ireland and Europe.

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Mr Munjal is the son of the founders of one of the world’s largest bicycle companies and for a period of time was the managing director of Hero Cycle and Hero Motorcorp, building up a business from simple bicycle manufacturing to one of the leading producers of two-wheelers in India.

Elgin House, EdinburghElgin House, Edinburgh
Elgin House, Edinburgh | JPIMedia

The businesses which have grown out of the original bicycle makers’ company have diversified significantly but are mostly all run by members of the Munjal family.

The HMRC office at Elgin House will be demolished pending approval of the full planning permission by the council, with the employees part of the 2,600 HMRC employees who will relocate permanently to the new UK Government building at New Waverlely Place.

The move from HMRC’s Edinburgh offices is on hold due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules and guidelines.

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It is not known whether or not the plans for the office building will be delayed by Covid-19, however it will be several months until the full planning application is submitted and months again until building work starts at the site.

HMRC announced their intention to leave the site in 2015 as part of a move into special Regional Centres across the country with two in Scotland in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Hero Catalyst Hospitality Ventures and the architects for the scheme Scott Hobbs Planning were contacted for comment but did not respond.

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