High hopes for new skate park at shopping mall
IT commands absorbing views of the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Firth of Forth beyond.
But don't expect anyone heading to Ocean Terminal's latest attraction to be sitting still and admiring the landscape.
For a massive empty unit on the shopping centre's top floor is being converted into a skate park, BMX track and break dancing arena.
The urban sports centre – to be known as Transgression Park – is expected to officially open within days and has been designed by Scottish professional BMX rider Dave Sowerby.
Initially it will consist of a skate park – thought to be the highest in the UK – a break dance area, a cafe and a shop. But it is hoped facilities for free running and a stunt school will be added in future.
The 9020-square foot unit has previously been used for art exhibitions, a boxing club and even as a space for events at the Leith Festival.
The centre, which cost a "five figure sum" to fit out, will cost users a 25 annual membership fee, as well as an as yet undecided entry charge. It will be open seven days a week from 10am to 10pm.
Director Ken Smith said it could cater for skateboarders left disappointed by the ongoing wrangling over the city's new public skate park.
He said: "The nearest similar centre is in Dundee but we will be offering a wider range of facilities.
"For Ocean Terminal it is a slight gamble, but we are confident it will be a success and will show there is demand for this type of facility in Edinburgh.
"After all the problems there has been with getting a proper skate park in Edinburgh, it is great that someone like Ocean Terminal is showing faith in us and hopefully it will show the council that facilities for these sports are needed.
"If we can get a free sports centre in one of the big shopping centres then you think we would be able to get one in a public park."
The team behind the project have been involved with the events' village at the annual Rat Race weekend, and already have over 100 BMX riders, skateboarders, break dancers and free running experts on their books.
Albie Clark, of Focus skateboard shop in the West Port, said he was sure the venture would be a big success.
He said: "Edinburgh has been without a proper skating facility for so many years now the public spaces in the city centre are being squeezed, so this can only succeed because people are running out of space.
"It is sad that it has taken private money to provide facilities for a popular sport like skateboarding, but it shows you how interested the council are in skaters.
"I also think that putting it in the shopping centre, although a bit unusual, will quash this unruly stereotype that still exists about the skating community."
Last year, skaters were left disappointed when plans for a 750,000 skate park in Inverleith were thrown out by the city council. The park would also have been suitable for BMX bikes and in-line skates.
It is now thought that council's favoured site for the skate park is a brownfield site, either in the west of the city or on the Waterfront.
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