University launches bid for economics centre at home of Smith

THE Royal Mile building where Adam Smith spent his last years would be saved and turned into a major economics research centre, under a new plan.

Heriot-Watt University is mounting a last-ditch bid to save Panmure House, where the celebrated philosopher and economist lived with his mother for 12 years. The university hopes to prevent the building being bought by a private buyer after the city council decided to sell up.

However, there are already more than 20 bids for the building, including some from developers and private individuals. Yesterday was the closing date for bids set by selling agents Rettie, who are asking for offers over 700,000.

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Campaigners urged in a letter: "All we ask is that the council considers the wider benefits of the proposals it receives as well as the cash prize offered.

"Naturally we think there would be particular benefit from a scheme with a viable and self-financing educational or research use.

"This would reflect Panmure House's heritage and its important associations with Adam Smith."