PLANS are afoot to transform a long forgotten part of Edinburgh city centre into a £97 million retail and leisure district.
A steering group is being formed made up of the owners and developers of properties in the Register Lane area - the properties in question will link St Andrew Square to the new £850 million St James development.
The city council is hopeful of getting the project underway next summer with a view to finishing it by summer 2019 when St James is also due to be completed.
Overall the development will comprise 40,000 sq ft of new retail/leisure accommodation, 178 hotel bedrooms or 97 quality serviced or private apartments and 23,000 sq ft of new offices.
Shops, bars and art galleries will also breathe new life into the area with up to 200 new jobs created.
It is estimated that the development will generate £55m for the city economy and provide a clear link vbetween the St James Quarter and St Andrew Square.
Central to the plans is the former UKIO Bankas building at 42 St Andrew Square which only last month was purchased by the Chris Stewart Group who plan to convert the landmark building into a boutique hotel.
City councillor, Frank Ross, convener of the cconomy committee, said: “This is a key location in the city centre, situated next to the St Andrew Square tram stop and the £850m St James Quarter development. I am proposing that I chair a steering group to look at the regeneration of this area building on the strong relationships we already have with the major landowners.
“It would facilitate discussions between all parties involved in ensuring that this area has more attractive public space and improved links to Princes Street and the St James Quarter. The purchase of 42 St Andrew Square was welcome news last week as this iconic building is a crucial piece of the jigsaw as it will help to unlock further investment in the Registers Lane area.”