All Go At SoCo

Whiteburn Projects has announced the next phase of its SoCo development at the historic former South Bridge/Cowgate fire site in Edinburgh’s Unesco World Heritage Old Town.

In an announcement that is a vote of confidence in Edinburgh’s tourism industry, Whiteburn have struck a deal with the William Pears backed Jansons Property company, which will now see the site developed out to incorporate a 200+ bedroom limited service hotel, with associated shops, restaurants, bars – and the reinstatement of the former La Belle Angele nightclub.

The development will create over 200 jobs on a site that has been empty for nearly a decade.

Andy Jansons, CEO of Jansons Property said “We’re delighted to be taking SoCo forward with Whiteburn, after looking long and hard at a number of sites in Edinburgh over the past year. We’re well funded, very experienced and remain on the hunt for more similar opportunities in Edinburgh.”

Whiteburn acquired the site in 2006 from the eight former owners after the previous buildings straddling South Bridge and the Cowgate were devastated by a fire in 2002. Whiteburn’s team worked painstakingly with the City of Edinburgh Council, heritage and amenity groups to secure a hotel led mixed use planning consent in 2009.

Whiteburn’s John Shepherd added “The SoCo project has become a labour of love for Whiteburn, and we were obviously disappointed that our previous development plans faltered when the economy hit the buffers. But we’re now delighted to be working with Jansons and look forward to helping them to deliver a successful vibrant mixed use result for the city.”

“This has been a gap on the South Bridge for too long and we are keen to bring new life to the area with new shops and a hotel, as well as the restoration of La Belle Angele.

Recent research has shown that Edinburgh’s economy is well placed to move forward after the recession, and we feel that this investment can been seen as a vote of confidence in Edinburgh’s tourism industry and as a location for inward investment” he added.

Also commenting on the application, Councillor Tom Buchanan, Convener of Economic Development for the City of Edinburgh said, “I am delighted to hear that Jansons have taken on the SoCo site and plan to put it back into a use that will create great many jobs for Edinburgh residents. This site offers huge potential for development in a prime location in the heart of our city centre. This investment, along with other recent reports shows that our world class Tourism industry is helping Edinburgh’s economy back into growth. I am confident that we will see further signs of Edinburgh’s recovery in the coming weeks and months.”