IT’S a site in the heart of the Capital that has lain empty for five years.
But now a fresh lease of life has been breathed into the former Scottish Provident building on St Andrew Square, as a brand new TK Maxx store opened its doors this morning.
Bargain hunters are flocking to the shop on South St David Street to browse three floors of affordably-priced designer goods.
The shop – which boasts ceiling-high glass windows and breathtaking views of the Scott Monument – is the first business to open its doors at the St Andrew Square development.
The £75 million project, which is expected to be complete by the end of this year, will also see a range of new restaurants launch over the coming months.
Neil Millington, manager of the TK Maxx shop, said: “The store looks amazing and I’m so proud of everyone that helped to make it happen.
“We are the first [TK Maxx] store in the city centre, and we feel very privileged to be the first business in the new St Andrew Square development to have opened.
“The shop is stunning and we hope everyone enjoys it.”
Last night, fashion industry figures were given a sneak preview of the new store at its launch party.
Kayleigh Crawford, 28, a blogger from Linlithgow, was among those invited to attend.
Sipping on champagne, she said she was impressed, adding: “The new shop is really nice.
“St Andrew Square is such a great location. It’s right in the middle of everything.”
TK Maxx, which is the only retail venture lined up for the development at St Andrew Square, has two other stores on the outskirts of the city.
Councillor Joanna Mowat, Conservative member for the city centre, said it was “exciting” that construction work on the square was close to completion.
“It’s always exciting when a building that’s been empty for so long comes back to life,” she said.
“Shops like this are great because it’s important we keep attracting people to our city.
“However, I’m looking forward to getting that part of St Andrew Square back.
“It’ll be nice to have a pavement to walk on again.”
Later this year, the development, which is a joint venture between Standard Life Investments Pooled Pension Property Fund and Peveril Securities, will see the launch of a New York-inspired contemporary steakhouse, a barbecue lobster shack and a Bombay-style cafe.
John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “TK Maxx’s flagship store is a welcomed addition to Edinburgh’s vibrant retail offering and forms an important part of the ongoing investment and redevelopment within the city centre.”
He added: “With works now under way at the new St James Quarter as well as the major refurbishment and repurposing of the former Royal Bank of Scotland building, also on St Andrew Square, it’s an exciting time for Edinburgh and a great demonstration of business confidence in the future of the city.”