£20m hotel development to give area work boost

An artist's impression of the hotel development

An artist's impression of the hotel development

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THIS is the first glimpse of a new £20 million hotel development that will create 130 jobs in north Edinburgh.

The 120-bedroom De Vere Group development will be built in Crewe Road South after getting the green light.

These plans of how it will look show a modern ­finish. It will include a health and fitness club, ­business and conference ­facilities, a ­restaurant, bar, and a ­Starbucks coffee shop.

The jobs boost will be ­particularly welcome and fits in with key demands several neighbouring community councils made when stating their support for the exciting plan.

Local councillor Lesley Hinds is particularly delighted the area has attracted a ­company which prides itself on taking on and training young unemployed people from its immediate area.

Cllr Hinds said: “I’m very supportive of this proposal. De Vere’s training school particularly targets areas of high youth unemployment and in discussions with the company they were very encouraging in regards to bringing jobs to north Edinburgh. Added to this you also have new facilities such as a hotel, bar and coffee shop.”

Work will begin later this year and is expected to be completed by mid-2014. Robert Cook, chief executive of De Vere Village Urban Resorts, said the company was ­desperate to get a foothold in the city – which has seen an explosion in the number of hotel developments.

He said: “Edinburgh is a high-priority location for us and we are very excited to be bringing this concept here.

“The redundant office building on site, Helix House, has been vacant for many years and is becoming something of an eyesore.

“Our new resort will be a positive landmark building in this prominent location.”

The 1980s Helix House office block was vacated in ­December 2002 and has ­fallen into disrepair in recent years despite being extensively 
marketed.

Ian Kettlewell, associate director of planning consultants Nathaniel Lichfield, is pleased it is being removed to make way for the classy hotel.

He said: “This exciting new development will regenerate an important and prominent site, removing a building that has been vacant for a number of years.”

Drylaw and Telford Community Council chairman Alex Dale said there was broad support for the plan. He said: “We fully support this.”

His view was echoed by the community councils of Craigleith and Blackhall and Stockbridge and Inverleith.

Parking concerns had initially been raised, with some fearing there could be parking overspill in neighbouring streets.

But this was solved when city planners agreed to De Vere’s request for 267 spaces – above the 235 maximum usually set for projects of this size. The development will be one of 15 new “village urban resorts” the firm plans to add to its 
63 existing sites in the UK. Two similar hotels are planned for Aberdeen and Glasgow.

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com

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