Hopes that revival plan will lift ‘shabby’ corridor
A £50m plan to regenerate a series of heritage buildings in Edinburgh’s west end has prompted hopes that it will help revive a key corridor into the city centre.
The dilapidated buildings, at the junction of Queensferry Street and Shandwick Place were, until recently, home to a lap dancing venue, a backpackers’ hostel, and short-stay residential accommodation.
Planning officials have recommended that the plan by Chris Stewart Group (CSG) to refurbish the buildings should be approved by councillors next week.
The scheme was first revealed last summer after four years of preparatory work by urban regeneration specialist CSG and its joint venture partner on this project, Souter Investments. They have assembled seven historic properties which share a junction with the Johnnie Walker Experience and the Caledonian Waldorf Hotel.
There are now calls for further work to be done to upgrade Shandwick Place and West Maitland Street which have become downtrodden and shabby. There are two empty bank branches (Bank of Scotland and TSB) and other vacant units which have been daubed with graffiti.
James Stewart-Lockhart of Johnston Carmichael Wealth said the CSG development should be “the catalyst for transforming the whole of Shandwick Place.”
Commenting on his group’s plan, Chris Stewart said: “These buildings are of historical note and are in a prime location, but they’ve suffered from chronic underinvestment and misuse over recent years.
“Our aim is to combine them in one refurbished block, creating a high-quality development that does justice to these buildings and their position within the world heritage site.”
Chris Stewart Group was behind the renovation of Advocate’s Close in the old town and the conversion of a bank into the Edinburgh Grand hotel in St Andrew Square. It also restored a derelict block at the top of Leith Walk and the A-listed Parish Halls in Glasgow.