WORK is set to begin on the controversial £150 million Caltongate development in Edinburgh’s Old Town as developer confidence returns in the wake of the No vote.
Artisan Real Estate Investors, the firm behind the project, has announced that demolition works have now started with building work expected begin in November.
City leaders are also understood to have been approached by a number of groups in regards the Edinburgh 12 - an initiative that was launched by the council to help progress strategically important gap sites within the city centre.
It is hoped that within five years these developments have the potential to deliver over 20,000 jobs, 1.5 million square foot of office space and 1600 hotel bed spaces.
The eight-week Caltongate demolition programme includes the dismantling of the former council buildings opposite the council’s current headquarters at Waverley Court. Construction of the first hotels will start shortly afterwards, with a planned completion date scheduled for early 2016.
The area is to be transformed with the first phase of activity, delivering hotels and a new £6.5 million public square.
Artisan’s vision for New Waverley is to create a revitalised city centre district for Edinburgh, linking the capital’s New Street/East Market Street area and Waverley Station with the Royal Mile.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Hilton Double Tree hotel and The Chanter bar on Bread Street in the city has been bought by Redefine International for £25.7 million - but the multi-million-pound deal hinged on the Yes side being defeated.
Former managing director of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Graeme Birse, has said that in the wake of the referendum vote regardless of the result it is important that attention is now turned to building a stronger economy.
He added: “In the area of commercial property, a number of ‘on hold’ projects will now be released and funded. It’s also true to say that a number of initiatives in the public sector have, understandably, been in suspension while campaigning was in full swing and will now be released with some forward momentum.”
City economy convenor, Frank Ross, has spoken positively of the capital’s outlook following the referendum and the significant headway being made within the Edinburgh 12 initiative which has resulted in a number of other sites being identified.
He said: “We are working closely with developers and potential investors to identify deliverable opportunities. As we continue to engage with developers and investors and the profile of the Edinburgh 12 project increases we fully expect further sites to come forward for inclusion. At present 34 development sites are currently being considered, taking into account economic factors such as potential for job creation, GVA impact, location and deliverability.
“There is significant interest in locating in Edinburgh and with the economy continuing to perform strongly; there is no better time to invest in Scotland’s capital.”