Construction company confirm ‘demolition complete’ at St James Centre

A section of St James Centre car park collapsed during demolition
A section of St James Centre car park collapsed during demolition
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It has been confirmed that the demolition phase of Edinburgh’s controversial St James redevelopment is complete.

Work on an £850m project in the area is now under way with completion due by 2020.

The St James centre has been consigned to history

The St James centre has been consigned to history

Often dubbed as the ugliest building in the Capital, work began on the destruction of the St James Centre in 2016.

A new project will see 850,000 sq ft of retail space, including a John Lewis store in the area.

READ MORE: More investment planned for Edinburgh after St James

As well as a number of shops, the development will offer a multi-screen cinema, a 214-room hotel and 150 private apartments.

Artist's impression of the St James Quarter.

Artist's impression of the St James Quarter.

Tim Kelly, the project director with Laing O’Rourke, the firm behind the new centre said: “Very shortly we shall be getting to the stage where we are starting to build back up the way, reconstructing the Edinburgh St James, so pouring concrete down the base and the base foundations and bringing the structure back up the way.”

READ MORE: Pictures show demolition well under way at St James Centre

Martin Perry, director of development, said: “We effectively designed what we call a Marmite building, it is either loved or hated but definitely gets a reaction.

“Whereas the rest of the development is designed to blend and fit into the environment. That building is designed to deliberately create a bit of a stir.”

Despite initial delight by most at the destruction of the St James Centre, concern has been raised about the new replacement, dubbed by some as the Walnut Whip, due to how it will fail to blend in with the surroundings of the Capital.

Adam Wilkinson director of Edinburgh World Heritage told the BBC: “We are feeling quite positive at the moment about how the city is looking forward in terms of its heritage.

“We have a council that is committed to world heritage status, we have a new world heritage site management plan agreed with the council, Historic Scotland and ourselves and it looks at a number of issues including specifically including the quality of development in the city and how we can get beyond the idea of things being just good enough.

“The council’s planning committee has stated very clearly that just good enough is not good enough for Edinburgh and that’s a position we strongly support.”