Artisan Real Estate Investors has unveiled an exciting new vision to drive forward the transformation of the former Caltongate area at the heart of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.The £150 million development is to create a brand new city centre district for Edinburgh called New Waverley – a name reflecting both the area’s rich cultural heritage and its proximity to the Waverley Valley and capital’s main railway station.
Work on the five-acre site is expected to start within the next three months, seamlessly linking the capital’s New Street/East Market Street area and Waverley Station with the Royal Mile. The area is to be transformed into a vibrant pedestrian-friendly urban centre mixing open public spaces with retailers, restaurants, hotels and leisure offerings, as well as new homes and offices. The first phase activity, delivering hotels and a new £6.5 million public square, is expected to be complete by 2016.
Artisan also revealed details of a major new hotel deal which is set to breathe new life back into the Old Town. Global operator Adagio is to bring a 146-suite Adagio Aparthotel to the heart of New Waverley, with frontages onto the Royal Mile and the new public square.
The Adagio deal follows another two hotel agreements with Whitbread, announced late last year, for a 127-room Premier Inn and a 130-room Hub by Premier Inn, Whitbread’s innovative new ‘compact’ hotel format which will be the first of its kind outside of London.
Welcoming today’s announcement, Lukas Nakos, Artisan’s Managing Director said: “New Waverley marks the next exciting chapter in the evolution of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Artisan is now delivering international capital investment of £150 million, coupled with the vision and commitment needed to complete one of the most challenging development projects anywhere in the UK.
“We are well aware of the complexities that surround development in such a sensitive area, which is why we spent almost two years on a comprehensive consultation process bringing together more than 200 local people, businesses, civic partners and heritage bodies.
“Following extensive community feedback, our plans for New Waverley now reflect a marked change in direction from previous planning consents, both in terms of improved development quality and in preserving the heritage of such a unique area.
“A closer understanding of our plans shows that the massing and overall height of the revised designs has been significantly reduced. New Waverley will provide more open public spaces, with the larger commercial buildings being broken up into more intimate, individual units, improving the overall look and feel of the area and its connectivity with the rest of the city.
“We now have the opportunity to create, in the very heart of Edinburgh, one of Europe’s most exciting and vibrant mixed-use communities which will set an international benchmark for sensitive and innovative development.”
Centred around a new £6.5 million civic square, New Waverley will create around 177,000 sq. ft. of high quality grade A office space, together with provision for 400 hotel bedrooms and 28 new retail businesses, using smaller commercial properties at street level. There are also plans for a new community facility, together with 148 residential units and 40 affordable homes.
New Waverley’s design will retain many facets of the area’s unique Old Town setting to preserve the historic character of the development – including the retention of the Canongate Venture building and the façade of the Old Sailor’s Ark. The Jeffrey Street arches are set to be opened up as small, individual ‘artisan’ units and historic views of Calton Hill from the Royal Mile will be preserved.
In all, there will be space for some 1,750 new jobs, with 720 jobs being created as part of the construction phase of the development. Latest research shows that the completed development will generate an approximate annual turnover for the area of £84 million, contributing some £43 million of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the local economy each year.
Adagio’s Aparthotel will form an integral part of New Waverley’s civic square with ground level linkages to cafes, restaurants and shops. The design of the four-storey building reflects its unique setting, being constructed behind an existing façade facing onto the Royal Mile and linking to the Canongate and the public square using a newly created pedestrian walkway, inspired by the Old Town’s historic ‘Wynds’.
Welcoming the Adagio deal, Lukas Nakos added: “There has been huge interest in the site from hotel operators around the world, and I am pleased that an operator of Adagio’s stature and pedigree has chosen to invest in the city.
“High quality hotel provision will be one of the cornerstones of our development and innovative leisure concepts such as the Adagio Aparthotel will add vibrancy, excitement and colour to our plans. We will be placing strong emphasis on the quality of design and materials to ensure the hotels reflect their historic Royal Mile setting – as well as ensuring that the wider area benefits from the increased visitor spend.”
Architects for New Waverley are Edinburgh-based Allan Murray Architects and CDA Design.