Chris Stewart plans revamp of west end buildings

Queensferry Street: key junction with additions to top of building at centre

A cluster of listed properties at one of Edinburgh’s prominent junctions will undergo an upgrade under plans submitted by the Chris Stewart Group.

The company, which was behind the refurbishment of Advocate’s Close in the Old Town and the Edinburgh Grand Hotel in St Andrew Square, now wants to breathe new life into the Queensferry Street buildings which stand opposite the Caledonian Waldorf and the Johnnie Walker Experience.

A complex 18-month acquisition process has been led by CSG in a joint venture with Souter Investments, the family office of Sir Brian Souter, and they have now appointed architects 3DReid and engineers Buro-Happold to progress to a design that delivers a sensitive restoration.  

The buildings have been used for a variety of purposes, including a lap dancing club, but are largely empty. The development aims to deliver high quality mixed-use hospitality space to help accelerate Edinburgh’s economic performance and drive city centre footfall. Precise details of what is planned, or which which buildings are involved have not been released, but there has been talk of a hotel.

Chris Stewart, CEO of CSG, commented: “Having spent almost two years working on the acquisition and vision for these buildings, we’re really pleased to be able to share our plans with the city.  

“This prominent corner of Edinburgh city centre is home to a collection of buildings that have been neglected for some time. The designs we are proposing will enable significant physical and economic regeneration of these historic properties, providing them with a sustainable long-term future.  

“We’re excited to create another world class development with the potential to bring further local independents and global brands to this part of the city. The development also helps meet the council’s – and our own – net zero ambitions by making effective use of existing historic buildings.” 

Calum Cusiter, co-managing director of Souter Investments, added: “The potential for these buildings in this location should be obvious to anyone who takes the time to stop and look.

“What is not so obvious, and certainly isn’t easy, is having the vision, drive and skillset to piece together such a difficult jigsaw and develop something that promises to be truly exciting.  

“We’ve been speaking to Chris and his team for a number of years, having been impressed with the quality and success of their previous developments, and are delighted to be their joint venture partner on this project.” 

CSG is also working with Turley Heritage and Scott Hobbs Planning to progress the scheme. 

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