Much of the progress so far has been away from the public gaze, with contractors carrying out strengthening work on the Victorian tunnels running beneath the four-acre site. But construction activity is now out in the open, and joint venture partners Interserve and Tiger Developments said office occupiers could be in place by 2017.
Interserve development director David Westwater said: “We are continuing to carry out strengthening works to the tunnels, but to see works commencing above ground is very satisfying and justification for all our hard work below.”
Tenants already lined up include Premier Inn, parking provider Q Park, Tesco and serviced apartments specialist Staycity. Food chains Pret A Manger and Prezzo have committed to the second phase of the project. Once complete, the site will feature three office buildings totalling about 320,000sq ft and a mix of bars, cafes and restaurants.
Figures from property consultancy JLL show office take-up in Edinburgh hit a ten-year high in 2014, and Tiger managing director John Nesbitt said: “It is clear occupiers will require to plan ahead to secure modern accommodation in the city centre.”