Quartermile chief changes hotel plan to more flats

PLANS for a boutique hotel on the site of the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary have been ditched by the developer behind the city’s massive Quartermile urban regeneration scheme.
Paul Curran: waiting for consent. Picture: Lesley MartinPaul Curran: waiting for consent. Picture: Lesley Martin
Paul Curran: waiting for consent. Picture: Lesley Martin

Property investor Moorfield bought the project from Lloyds-backed builder Gladedale in a multi-million-pound deal almost a year ago. The change in ownership gave the scheme fresh impetus after construction largely ground to a halt in the property crash of 2008-9.

However, Quartermile managing director Paul Curran said the firm is now seeking permission to convert two B-listed medical pavilions into luxury apartments rather than turning them into a hotel.

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He said: “We’re waiting on that consent any day now – we’ve been through it with planners and Historic Scotland and they all seem very happy with it.

“There’s lots of interest in the hotel market for that location, but the difficulty with all these things is the funding, and using a hotel management agreement is more difficult to fund.”

Quartermile, scheduled for completion by 2018, was originally due to have about 900 flats, but the change in plans means this could now rise to as many as 960. Work could begin before the end of this year.

The project recently secured £80 million in funding from M&G Real Estate to build two additional office blocks providing about 200,000 square feet of Grade A space, making it the biggest speculative build since last year’s completion of Edinburgh City Council’s Atria office building on Morrison Street.

Curran added: “We’ve had a massive year and created a lot of momentum across the development.”