Offices proposed for old Edinburgh brewery site

Posted on by John Cronin

The derelict site of the former Fountain Brewery in Edinburgh will see a large, mixed-use scheme of offices, hotels and residential properties under ambitious plans lodged yesterday.

Fountain BreweryThe Lloyds Banking Group has submitted proposals for the transformation of the giant Fountainbridge site (pictured), which will see the tall main building featuring the iconic McEwan’s logo being demolished. Agents for the proposed scheme are CB Richard Ellis (Edinburgh). The full planning application can be viewed here. A decision from the planning committee is expected in February, 2011. Architects for the scheme are Edinburgh based Allan Murray.

The site, sold by brewing giant Scottish & Newcastle to HBOS in 2008, was initially going to be a major office hub for the company, bringing together all of its offices apart from its headquarters onto one site. It now intends to get planning consent for the new mixed use scheme, then sell off individual parts of the site to developers. The scheme would create approximately 15,000 square metres of new office space.

In accordance with the Edinburgh City Council ‘Protection of Key Views’ policy, tall towers are considered as being detrimental and are therefore not proposed for the site. The maximum height for a new office scheme would be no higher than 90m. As a speculative commercial development, available office floor space within the scheme would compete with the nearby commercial hubs at Haymarket, The Exchange and Springside. Tiger Developments have also recently submitted controversial plans for a speculative office scheme in the Haymarket district. The £850m St James Quarter development is to offer approximately 160,000 sq ft of modern office space.

Local property experts suggest that a mixed-use scheme rather than just an offices scheme on the old brewery site will take much longer to become a reality however. Alasdair Humpherey, managing director of property firm Jones Lang LaSalle in Scotland, told The Scotsman:

“Development on that site is unlikely in the short term because of the lack of development finance and other such problems, but getting planning in principle then detailed consent can take several years and things may have picked up by then. While the current market remains difficult, it is likely that there will be stronger interest from potential developers in the coming years, when the market picks up and the amount of available office space reduces”.

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