Plans for a £50m transformation of the former Debenhams store on Edinburgh's Princes Street into a 207-bedroom hotel have received unanimous approval from the City of Edinburgh Council planning committee.
The redevelopment, spanning three separate listed properties at 109 to 112 Princes Street, will also include a restaurant, lounge, spa and rooftop bar overlooking Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle. The original properties were built in 1869 and the department store was developed in 1978.
Construction work is expected to begin in 2022, with the hotel scheduled to open in 2024.
Bill Hughes, head of real assets for Legal & General Investment Management, said: "The UK needs urban centres that are fit for purpose and support growth. We continue to work hard investing in centres and creatively repurposing real estate to ensure the vitality of urban areas that need to evolve. Our long-term view and operational strategy mean we can adapt and innovate the Princes Street site to harness the full potential of these historic buildings, ensure they support economic growth and bring the widest possible benefit to the city."
Nida Rehman, senior development manager for Legal & General Investment Management, said: "We have worked collaboratively with the City of Edinburgh Council to understand their aspirations for the future of Princes Street and create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable development. The scheme will provide an exceptional anchor for the community and deliver best-in-class local services to support the post Covid recovery."
The project has ambitions to be one of the most sustainable developments in the city by targeting BREEAM Excellent and a carbon reduction gold standard.
The developer plans to ensure the careful preservation of historically significant parts of the buildings, which have been past homes to both the city's Conservative and Liberal Party Clubs.
The scheme's planning consultant is Montagu Evans, the architect is ICA, project manager is Gardiner & Theobald and townscape and heritage advisor is Turley.