Edinburgh wins battle for Scotland's cultural HQ
SCOTLAND'S new cultural agency is set to move into the Waverley Gate office complex in Edinburgh, after the capital won a three-way race with Glasgow and Dundee to become the quango's home.
The former General Post Office, across from the Balmoral Hotel, will become the flagship base of Creative Scotland, when it gets up and running later this year.
And the building is expected to become a creative hub for the whole country after it emerged talks were under way which could result in other cultural bodies moving in too. Creative Scotland also wants the nation's artists to help shape the look and feel of the new base.
It is a major victory for the city council and leading cultural figures in the capital who have spent three years lobbying for the organisation to be based there, mainly due to its world-leading festivals and the strength of its creative industries.
It is also a welcome boost for efforts to attract tenants to the 144-year-old building, which has been lying all but empty for the past five years since its 100 million transformation into a state-of-the-art office complex was completed.
Its developers went into administration after failing to drum up enough interest in the landmark development, which closed as a post office in 1995.
Microsoft is the only current occupant of Waverley Gate, although NHS Lothian has clinched a deal to relocate hundreds of its staff there over the summer. The vast majority of the 113 staff expected to transfer to Creative Scotland – due to be formed in the autumn after a merger of the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen – will be based at Waverley Gate, although a Glasgow office will be retained at the film agency's current base in West George Street.
Under the deal to base Creative Scotland in Edinburgh, the city council will take over the lease of the arts council's offices in Manor Place, in the West End. It will then become home to about 150 staff from the council and other bodies who are currently based in the old Royal High School, in Regent Road.
Council leader Jenny Dawe said: "As the pre-eminent arts and festival city, Edinburgh is the natural home of the national cultural agency. A fantastic location has been identified, which will provide flexible accommodation that suits Creative Scotland's business model and allows for quick and easy access to both national and international transport links."
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: "I'm very excited by the prospect of our new Edinburgh base and I hope we can involve artists to make it somewhere special for Scotland's creative community. This is a great start for the new organisation – it would have been so difficult to operate out of Manor Place."
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