New Waverley Square plan for Edinburgh’s Old Town

The £150m development will be linked to the Capital’s historic cobbled main street via a 146-room aparthotel that will face on to the Royal Mile, occupying the facade of the listed Sailor’s Ark building.

looking along Market Street, with the Royal Mile up to the left
looking along Market Street, with the Royal Mile up to the left

Artists’ impressions have revealed in new detail how a £6.5m public square behind the new Adagio hotel will look, with an open space leading off the junction between East Market Street and New Street.

One image depicts outdoor dining and drinking space next to the council’s Waverley Court building, with a pedestrianised square dotted with trees and a statue. Another shows a large open archway leading into the hotel, with new shop fronts at street level while historic stonework is preserved on upper floors.

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The New Waverley has had a troubled past under its previous Caltongate name, with campaign groups and residents fighting for almost a decade against plans to build modern flats, offices and hotels on the site. The final design was labelled “not hideous enough” despite attracting over 5000 objections, and a previous development company went bust during the financial crisis, leaving the notorious gap site to lie empty for another five years.

The aparthotel facade is seen looking up from Canongate

The site was bought out of administration by Artisan Real Estates Investors, which is already working on two other Premier Inn hotels on the site, as well as shops that will be fitted within the Market Street archways.

Clive Wilding, Artisan’s project director, described the work connecting the Royal Mile to what will be known as New Waverley Square as a “breakthrough” for the project.

He said: “We are now seeing New Waverley’s true scope and potential being delivered before us – a broad sweep of an historic part of the city integrating Edinburgh’s busy New Street and Market Street with Waverley Station and the Royal Mile.

“The new public square, with stunning views over Calton Hill, will form a vibrant hub for this flagship mixed-use development and its surrounding area, creating an entirely new destination for Edinburgh.

“With it, we are creating the very heart of our development – a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly urban centre mixing open public spaces with high quality homes and offices, as well as restaurants, shops and hotels linking directly to one of the most iconic streets anywhere in the world.”

Developers say they will work with the council and the local community to ensure residents embrace the development.

Mr Wilding added: “We are working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council to create a community partnership to breathe new life into the area. This includes arts projects and community events throughout the year.”