Former newspaper office handed fresh lease of life

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A HISTORIC city centre building that was the original home of The Scotsman newspaper has been put up for sale - and could be set for a new life as serviced apartments.

The five-storey B-listed building in Anchor Close, off Cockburn Street, is being marketed as a prime development site and is set to sell for around 1.6 million.

Sources claimed the main interest had come from developers looking to transform the site into holiday apartments. However, uses including offices, a hotel, residential or student accommodation and a cafe or restaurant could also be considered.

The baronial property was originally the home of The Scotsman from the building's completion in 1860 until 1904, when the paper moved to offices on North Bridge.

While agent Jones Lang Lasalle would not discuss offers for the building, it is believed to have attracted considerable interest, given its location at the heart of the city's tourist district.

The council-owned property will require work, however, with one of the aims of selling the building being to ensure its future.

It is hoped work will be able to start later this year once a sale has been finalised.

The ground floor is currently occupied by the Artists Collective Gallery, which has a lease until December 2012.

Kate Gray, director of the gallery, said it was currently working with the council to try to find a new home.

She said: "We are expecting that we will have to move as a result of any sale. It is disappointing, as we have been here for several years, but we are looking on this as an opportunity to re-focus ourselves and find a new space where we can expand the work of the gallery."

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city's economic development leader, said: "This is part of an exercise to rationalise the council estate - raising significant capital receipts in the process.

"I am a pleased that there has been a great deal of interest and am confident that the new occupier of the building will complement and add to the city centre's diverse offering."

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