Standard Life aims to bag huge retail park expansion contract
Plans for a major expansion of the area around Fort Kinnaird Retail Park have been unveiled.
Financial giant Standard Life wants to develop 9.5 acres of vacant land it owns next to the B&Q store at Newcraighall, which is opposite the main shopping area of Fort Kinnaird.
Property agents have launched a search for companies to occupy new buildings proposed for five separate plots of land within the site, named Kinnaird South.
Among the range of uses being promoted are an extension of the existing car showroom offering, a new hotel, an office development, industrial units and new shops.
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Once companies are found to occupy individual plots, Standard Life will either sell the land to them or develop the site and lease the buildings to them.
David Fraser, a partner at property firm Ryden, which is acting for Standard Life, said: "One deal has been done with Honda for a new car showroom but the other sites have potential for car showroom, business use and possibly a hotel. Any retail development would require a change of use (application].
"We have been in discussions with various people and there is a range of different interest."
The sites have already been earmarked by city planners as being suitable for uses that would create employment.
Mr Fraser said that the success of Fort Kinnaird would help to attract more firms to the area. He said: "It is key to people getting on site that there is a large volume of passing traffic and a lot of people in the area.
"It is one of the last remaining chunks of land out that way and it could be developed fairly quickly."
Fort Kinnaird Retail Park employs about 1300 people and its owners, British Land, announced its own 30 million expansion earlier this year.
Hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created from the expansion, which will include new mezzanine areas for existing stores and a new children's play area, as well as the potential development of the park's former cinema site.
But any further retail development on Standard Life's Kinnaird South site would be likely to attract concerns about shoppers being encouraged away from the city centre.
Councillor Jason Rust, the economic development spokesman for the Conservative group on the city council, said: "I think that planners would need to be careful because of the number of out-of-town centres there already are. The city centre, and Leith Walk as well, has been through quite an experience with the trams.
"Some retailers have been seen to be leaving the city centre so it is important that, if there are new units, they need to be different to the high street-type stores that are more suitable for Princes Street or George Street."
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