On the day that Jansons announced the formal start of construction of a new hotel complex at the infamous Cowgate fire site in Edinburgh, they have also announced that LaSalle will take over the development upon its completion.
The Cowgate fire originally attracted worldwide attention in December 2002 and since then complex negotiations between nine different owners and the economic downturn have delayed the site coming forward. With the formal site start today, it is anticipated that work will be complete in December 2013.
The new Ibis hotel, shops and restaurants have attracted universal acclaim from business and heritage groups in a city where planning consents in the world heritage site can be controversial.
Andy Jansons, CEO of Jansons commented: "This represents the culmination of a great deal of hard work but I am proud that we are able to announce the formal launch of construction today and the purchase of the scheme by LaSalle. Edinburgh has been very helpful in helping to make this happen and I would like to place on record my appreciation to the council for its support."
"Tourism is one of the cornerstones of the economy in Edinburgh and with the latest year round occupancy figures for hotels in the mid 60's, the sector is holding up extremely well through the downturn. With work starting on SoCo today and with the announcement of this deal, we can confirm that we are actively seeking further opportunities in Edinburgh and Scotland."
John Yeend, Director of LaSalle added: "This represents a substantial opportunity to secure an attractive long term investment in a key city center site in Scotland's capital. It also represents a strong vote of confidence in Edinburgh's economy. As the UK's second city of tourism, we know that room occupancy levels and yields have remained amongst the highest in the UK for many years.
With the strength of its festivals offer, and with Edinburgh Airport in new ownership, we are confident that tourism in Edinburgh remains a secure and smart investment for our funds. We have followed the development of the SoCo site for some time and I would commend Jansons for gaining widespread support for a high quality addition to Edinburgh's World Heritage site. We believe that the development will quickly become a positive and valued addition to Edinburgh's city center and we look forward to making further investments, where the schemes can meet our standards and expectations."
Work begins formally in the SoCo site today and on the same day the City of Edinburgh Council is launching its new economic strategy for the city. With the start of works at SoCo, and with the other major city center site at Caltongate now moving forward, the strategic emphasis on supporting tourism has every chance of encouraging further interest and investment in Scotland's capital. Jansons expects to be able to make further announcements in due course.
Lewis & Partners and Ryden advised Jansons & Cyril Leonard advised LaSalle in the funding of this development.