Site Clearance Work Begins on Edinburgh’s SoCo Project

Work on clearing the remaining walls and foundations on Edinburgh’s fire-hit Cowgate site is set to get underway.

Whiteburn, the owner of the site, is to start initial clearance work, paving the way for the area to be transformed into a temporary Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue in August.

Smoke-damaged furniture and other material from the upper floors of the neighbouring Chambers Street building will also be removed as part of the project, which is expected to last up to three months.

The work has been approved by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Planning Department and will be carried out in conjunction with the local authority’s archaeologist in order to safeguard any historical remains which may be located within the site.

The brand new Festival venue, “C SoCo”, will feature an international programme from C venues, one of the leading independent Fringe venue producers.

A planning application to create a new vibrant city district called SoCo is expected to be lodged with the City of Edinburgh Council in the summer.

David Kilgour, project manager with Whiteburn, said: “This work will enable us to prepare the site so the temporary Festival venue can be established safely and will ensure the SoCo site is also in the best possible condition for Festival visitors in August.”

Whiteburn is in talks with a number of companies interested in occupying the 12,000 sq m site, which lies in the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site and Old Town.

The South Bridge/Cowgate site was previously home to a host of retail outlets, offices, pubs and venues, including the Gilded Balloon comedy venue, Bridge Jazz Bar, La Belle Angele nightclub, Leisureland amusement arcade and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics. The buildings were destroyed by a major blaze in December 2002, which attracted worldwide attention.

Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Whiteburn. For further information contact Sam Halstead T: 0131 556 6649 or Mobile: 07770 886 937.