Site sale would see 1960s Edinburgh office block converted into 150-plus flats

Plans to convert an empty 1960s office building in Edinburgh’s west end into more than 150 flats have taken a step forward.

The “prime residential development site” on Orchard Brae has been brought to market by Lismore Real Estate Advisors and Scarlett Land and Development, on behalf of Square and Crescent.

The Finance House development site extends to two acres and is said to benefit from “minded to grant” council planning consent for 151 apartments. It also offers build to rent (BTR) “potential” for 172 apartments, subject to planning consent.

The main building was constructed in 1968 for finance provider Lloyds Bowmaker, spread over eight storeys, with a large five-storey extension added in 1978. It has been lying vacant since late 2018.

The Finance House development site on Orchard Brae, off Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, extends to two acres and is said to benefit from minded to grant council planning consent for 151 apartments. It also offers build to rent (BTR) 'potential' for 172 apartments, subject to planning consent.

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Developers noted that the 1960s building, which is almost entirely of concrete frame construction, would be retained and converted into 86 apartments, while the 1970s building will be demolished and replaced with a new build block, containing 65 residential apartments, ranging in height from three to five storeys.

The proposed development would also feature 3,000 square feet of office/coworking space on the ground floor, and 23,000 sq ft of private and communal external amenity spaces. With vehicle access from Learmonth Gardens, the site would have 32 car parking spaces plus 380 bike spaces.

The development is designed to be “net zero ready”, featuring the likes of air source heat pumps to provide heating and domestic hot water throughout.

Colin Finlayson, director of Lismore Real Estate Advisors, said: “Few UK cities can match the performance of Edinburgh’s private residential market, which has a proven history of growth and resilience, due to a combination of constrained supply and strong demand.

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“This development opportunity has so much to offer and is ideally placed in Edinburgh’s highly desirable west end. It will be a real draw and we anticipate strong interest from potential developers, as well as institutional investors seeking exposure to the Edinburgh residential market.”

Will Scarlett, founder and director of Scarlett Land and Development, added: “Large-scale prime residential sites with planning consent rarely come to the market in Edinburgh. Not only does Finance House benefit from minded to grant planning for 151 apartments, it is also net zero ready - all electric (air source heat pumps) and uses no fossil fuels.

“The opportunity also exists at Finance House for a BTR scheme of 172 units within the same massing in a city that boasts some or the strongest fundamentals in the UK, yet lags other regional cities in terms of supply due to multiple constraints.”

Lismore Real Estate Advisors and Scarlett Land and Development are selling agents for Finance House and the architect is Morgan Architects.

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Edinburgh-based Scarlett Land and Development offers consultancy advice in relation to the acquisition and sale of residential land and development, build to rent, residential investment and purpose built student accommodation.

Square and Crescent is a developer, with a primary focus on the acquisition, development and refurbishment of residential property. The company was founded in 2013.

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Former Edinburgh Lloyds Banking call centre to be converted into 170 flats
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