Redevelopment backed by council
Go ahead for £60 million St Andrew Square block
Edinburgh Council has given the go ahead to one of the city’s key regeneration projects. The £60m restoration of the former Royal Bank of Scotland building in St Andrew Square and redevelopment of neighbouring buildings will complete the revival of the area.
Approval of plans for The Registers, an area to the south east of the square, will see two important heritage buildings given a new lease of life, new office accommodation and street level shops, bars and restaurants.
On completion at the end of 2017 the development is expected to deliver an annual economic boost of £71.4 million for the city, alongside a significant ‘heritage gain’ for the area. It will follow redevelopment of the south west corner into offices, shops and restaurants.
The development by Chris Stewart Group aims to replicate the success of Advocate’s Close in Edinburgh’s Old Town, which has won an array of national and international awards for its design.
Mr Stewart (pictured right), who is also behind the hotel project in Baxters’ Place near the Playhouse theatre, said: “It is an area in the city centre in desperate need of regeneration.
“The site is currently made up of a warren of neglected lanes and empty buildings falling into disrepair and we have provided robust evidence that our plans will create nearly 750 jobs and an annual economic boost to the city of over £70m as well as deliver substantial ‘heritage gain’.
“We have approached this project with the same sense of custodianship, design excellence and long term sustainability as we did for Advocate’s Close and our vision is to open up a thriving area that will appeal to both local residents and visitors to the city.”
The council approval followed an extensive consultation period and the presentation of robust evidence backing the development. The mixed-use scheme will create a vibrant and complementary mix of new offices, hotel, residential / serviced apartments, retail units and restaurants.
As part of the plans, 90% of the listed fabric of the site will be restored, including two key historic listed buildings currently on the ‘at risk’ register. New life will be given to one of the most important art deco banking halls as a restaurant at the neo-classical 42 St Andrew Square and reinstating a former warehouse at 28 West Register Street into active commercial use while preserving its remarkable Venetian Gothic façade. The bank was in the ownership of former Hearts FC owner Vladimir Romanov.
Buildings along part of West Register Street will make way for about 60,000 sq ft of much needed high quality Grade A office accommodation, designed to attract new businesses to the city and essential to the rejuvenation of the area, which forms an important gateway to the new St James development.
The intention is to start work on site early in the new year.