Edinburgh’s New Waverley development, in the heart of the city’s Old Town, has reached a significant milestone this week with the ‘Topping Out’ of its first building phase.
Construction of two Whitbread Premier Inn hotels, with a building area of 92,000 sq ft, has now reached its highest point at some 20 metres above street level.
Work on the hotels – a 127 room Premier inn and a 121-room Hub by Premier Inn – began in November 2014, with a completion date set for early-2016.
Artisan Real Estate Investors, the developer behind New Waverley, marked the occasion by hosting a unique celebration underneath the adjacent Jeffrey Street arches, which were opened for public use for the first time in 140 years. The high-vaulted Victorian arches, previously used as a storage area, are being transformed by Artisan into a brand new retail and leisure quarter for the city.
Welcoming the development milestone, Lukas Nakos, Artisan’s Managing Director, said: “The topping out of the Whitbread hotels marks a significant achievement for New Waverley. Construction has been progressed on schedule during a difficult winter period, with minimum disruption to one of the most sensitive city centre locations anywhere in the UK.
“The building stands as a proud cornerstone for our progress on site, which is moving forward on all fronts. We are now witnessing New Waverley’s true scope and potential being delivered before us – a broad sweep of an historic part of the city linking together the two iconic destinations of Waverley Station and the Royal Mile.”
Cllr Frank Ross, Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Economy Committee, added: “It is extremely encouraging to see this progress at one of the biggest ‘Edinburgh 12’ development sites. New Waverley will create jobs, apprenticeships, boost the economy and enhance a sense of community in a neglected gap site- breathing new life into the area. I look forward to the opening of these hotels, which as well as providing new jobs, will attract many new visitors, spending their money in the local area.”
Work at New Waverley is also currently progressing on a146-apartment Adagio Aparthotel, facing directly onto the Royal Mile behind a retained façade of the C-listed Sailors Ark building, due for completion in autumn 2016. This includes the start of works for a new £6.5m public square linked to the Aparthotel, creating a vibrant central hub for New Waverley surrounded by 160,000 sq ft of high-quality grade A office space and 28 new retail businesses – including shops, restaurants and cafes.
The building contractor for the hotel building phases is McAleer & Rushe. The next building phase at New Waverley, comprising 160,000 sq ft of office space and 148 homes, is due to start in spring 2016.
Edinburgh-based construction consultancy Gleeds provided cost and project management support for the project. Alan Dickson, Gleeds Director for Scotland said: “This is a significant milestone for New Waverley, and all team members – from designers to contractors – have worked seamlessly together. As a result, the project is progressing at a good pace with fit out of both hotels beginning at the end of summer before completion in February 2016.”
Gleeds has previously delivered heritage and regeneration schemes in Edinburgh, including the City of Edinburgh Council headquarters and the Royal Commonwealth Pool.