Flying start for business park as big-name hotels check in

TWO major hotel chains are to anchor a giant new business park on the outskirts of the Capital.

Premier Inn and Park Inn are the main players in the new development on the site of the former Marshall's chicken plant at Newbridge.

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created by the development, which is to feature 500,000 square feet of office space – more than double the size of Waverley Gate.

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The site, directly behind the Lexus showroom on Edinburgh Road, is to be named the Axis Business Park, to recognise its close links to the City Bypass, motorway and Edinburgh Airport.

Business leaders have hailed the hotels as a strong addition to the city's stock of accommodation – and vital extra accommodation for events like the Edinburgh Festivals and the Six Nations Championship.

Gavin Anderson, a partner at property consultancy firm Montagu Evans, said: "It is an extremely large site and a cracking location. Getting these two hotels there already will assist in attracting other occupiers, and discussions have already started with one other major company to take six acres of the site.

"Both hotels will benefit being on the doorstep of the airport and from such easy access to the motorway. You can easily get to almost anywhere in central Scotland."

Park Inn is a brand of the Radisson SAS and is to have 154 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar, meeting facilities, a swimming pool and other leisure areas. The Premier Inn, the UK's largest hotel brand, will have 119 bedrooms.

Also already signed up for the site, which has received planning permission, is the Eastern Western Motor Group, which will create BMW and Mini dealerships.

Mr Anderson said he was confident that the capture of the hotels would help seal deals for the office space.

"We believe the product on offer will appeal to a wide variety of businesses and directly contribute to the creation of hundreds of new jobs," he said.

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The first phase of the scheme is expected to be completed within 12 months, and will feature two office pavilions with a total 41,000 sq ft.

The site is being developed by the former owner of Marshall's, Grampian Country Foods, as part of a consortium with Paradigm Real Estate Managers, Welbeck Land and Bank of Scotland.

Work on roads and infrastructure began last month, and the building work will continue in phases with a variety of completion dates before being finished around the middle of 2010.

Graham Bell, a spokesman for Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: "We need to have hotels across the range of affordability from budget to luxury in order to meet demands.

"It's clear that for events like the Six Nations people coming up from Wales will stay 50 miles away and travel to the game, so this will help meet that demand. It is a perfect site for accessibility. The site has been empty for some time so it is good to see it being used for a good purpose."

The 50-acre site near the airport has been lying empty since the Grampian factory was closed in 2002 with the loss of 540 jobs.

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