PLANS to rejuvenate Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square have taken another step forward after developer Chris Stewart Group (CSG) snapped up Royal Bank of Scotland’s former headquarters.
The listed neo-classical building has lain vacant since ex-Heart of Midlothian owner Vladimir Romanov bought it in 2007, and it was recently deemed “at risk” by the Register for Scotland.
CSG has paid an undisclosed sum for 42 St Andrew Square and the adjoining building on West Register Street and plans to convert the site into 60,000 square foot of grade-A office accommodation alongside hotel, serviced apartments, retail and restaurant operations. The total area offers 130,000 square feet.
Founder and chief executive Chris Stewart said: “The purchase has just been completed, and there will now be a period of investigation and consultation to assess how best to sensitively redevelop the buildings to secure their future physically and economically.
“That said, we want to move quickly as the buildings and the area deserve to be given new life. We see tremendous scope for a vibrant mixed use development that will add a new dynamic to the area around West Register Lanes with good street level activity and world-class hotel and office accommodation.”
The main building dates from 1942 and remained the headquarters of RBS until 2006, when it decamped to Gogarburn. West Register Street, used for back-office functions, was a modern addition and is linked to St Andrew Square by a bridge.
Romanov’s firm Ubig acquired the site for £20 million at the height of the property boom but failed to convert it into a boutique hotel and had brokered a deal with a would-be buyer. However, the sale fell through after Ubig went into administration in November.
In February, a joint venture between Standard Life Investments and Peveril Securities said it would invest some £75m to create a mixed-use scheme featuring office space, retail units and apartments after acquiring the former Scottish Provident building on St Andrew Square.