Legal & General has received unanimous approval at a City of Edinburgh Council planning committee meeting for its €58m (£50m) regeneration of the former Debenhams store on Princes Street, Edinburgh. The proposals, which repurpose 108,000ft² of vacant, obsolete retail space, were described as ‘setting the tone’ for the future regeneration of Edinburgh city centre.
The redevelopment, spanning three separate listed properties at 109 to 112 Princes Street, creates a new hospitality hub and boutique hotel on the famous street. Plans include a 207-room upscale boutique hotel and publicly accessible restaurant, lounge, spa and rooftop bar. The proposals will create a new pedestrian link between Princes Street and Rose Street and new shopping, dining, hospitality, leisure and public event space. The rooftop bar will look directly onto Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle.
Bill Hughes, Head of Real Assets for Legal & General Investment Management, said: “The UK needs urban centres that are fit for purpose and support growth. We continue to work hard investing in centres and creatively repurposing real estate to ensure the vitality of urban areas that need to evolve. Our long-term view and operational strategy mean we can adapt and innovate the Princes Street site to harness the full potential of these historic buildings, ensure they support economic growth and bring the widest possible benefit to the city."
Nida Rehman, Senior Development Manager for Legal & General Investment Management, said: “We have worked collaboratively with the City of Edinburgh Council to understand their aspirations for the future of Princes Street and create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable development. The scheme will provide an exceptional anchor for the community and deliver best-in-class local services to support the post-Covid recovery.”
The project has ambitions to be one of the most sustainable developments in the city by targeting BREEAM Excellent and a carbon reduction Gold standard. The proposals also ensure the careful preservation of historically significant parts of the buildings, which have been past homes to both the city’s Conservative and Liberal Party Clubs, securing them for the future. The original properties were built in 1869 and the department store was developed in 1978.
The scheme’s planning consultant is Montagu Evans, the architect is ICA, a project manager is Gardiner & Theobald and the townscape and heritage advisor is Turley. Construction work is expected to begin in 2022 with the new boutique hotel scheduled to open in 2024.