Edinburgh Council considers selling prime Royal Mile building

Lothian Regional Chambers could be put up for sale. Picture: comp
Lothian Regional Chambers could be put up for sale. Picture: comp
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EDINBURGH council chiefs are to consider selling off the prestigious Lothian Regional Chambers in the Royal Mile.

The classical building with ornate interior, close to St Giles’ Cathedral, is a favourite venue for weddings and events.

But city council finance leader Alasdair Rankin has revealed proposals to dispose of the building are being developed and a report on the options is due to be presented to councillors in September.

Property expert David Alexander, of estate agents DJ Alexander, said if the chambers go on the market they would attract a lot of interest and sell for millions.

“It’s an iconic building in an excellent location,” he said. “It would make a fantastic hotel or they might want to sell and lease it back.”

The future of the chambers was raised at yesterday’s full council meeting by Tory councillor Jason Rust.

The building, which dates back to 1900, was originally Midlothian County Buildings, then home to Lothian Regional Council and later used by the Scottish Parliament for committee meetings before MSPs were able to move into Holyrood.

It became the registrars’ office in 2007.

The civic reception for Hibs was held there after the Scottish Cup final victory last month.

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Councillor Rankin said plans were at an early stage.

He said: “We have got as far as an outline business case, which sets out the options as the status quo, lease or sell.

“None of these options have been excluded at this stage.”

In answer to a question from Mr Rust, he said there had been no formal viewings, but had “no idea” about informal ones.

“People can go into the building and I imagine they can have a look round,” Mr Rankin added.

Mr Rust said: “I do have concerns that we have some dubiety about the future of one of the city’s historic civic buildings and it would seem that anything is on the table.

“It is now clear that proposals are being advanced by the council and the sooner we see what is being considered the better.

“Lothian Chambers was not so long ago refurbished and has been used as a meeting place for full council during the City Chamber’s renovation, in addition to being a civic, conference and wedding venue.”

He concluded: “There is need for transparency as to what plans are.”