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Old October 1st, 2015, 09:41 PM   #1
Kenspeckle
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India Buildings | Old Town | £65m | U/C

Full planning application submitted for India Buildings - 235 room four star hotel, bar, café & restaurant, events space, 3 retail units. Designed by Ica Architects for Jansons Property. Rumoured operator is Israeli hotel chain Fattal/Leonardo.

15/04445/FUL | Mixed use development comprising hotel, bar, restaurant, cafe, retail and commercial uses and alterations to India Buildings, 11-15 Victoria Street and Cowgatehead Church. | 1 -15 Victoria Street 18-20 Cowgate Edinburgh EH1 2EX































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Old October 2nd, 2015, 01:42 PM   #2
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^ bloody awesome! really well thought out, perfect materials and massing.. great!
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Old October 2nd, 2015, 02:26 PM   #3
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Bloody terrific! Get it built.
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Old October 2nd, 2015, 02:59 PM   #4
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I'm seeing quite a lot I like about this. Tricky site - could have filled it with a monolithic dull box but at least to my eye do seem to have put together quite a thoughtful complex of buildings that is scale and height varies and seems to respect its context. As far as I can tell from renders, the materials/finish could be good but what it looks like in the real sometimes differs so that's a small wait and see. Bronze seems to be on the up. Interesting to see it on the fins on the new offices going up in St Andrews Square.

There is a lot of new hotel building going on (4 new premier Inns u/c or about to be for example) but not lots of 4 stars - so this may be a welcome addition from a new operator.
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Old October 3rd, 2015, 12:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadabouttown View Post
As far as I can tell from renders, the materials/finish could be good but what it looks like in the real sometimes differs so that's a small wait and see. Bronze seems to be on the up. Interesting to see it on the fins on the new offices going up in St Andrews Square.
The big unknown for me is this printed glass skin on the Cowgate facade.

The precedent given in the design docs is Essen's Folkwang Library by Max Dudler.



It's certainly striking. In this case the photographic prints are large format close-ups of textured stone, resulting in something that looks like highly polished travertine rather than glass. It looks quite different - and pretty cool - when backlit at night.



As far as I can see from looking at the planning material, there's no description of what sort of photographic print would be used for India Buildings, though the visuals mainly illustrate something almost identical to Essen. Different levels of opacity are mentioned but not much else. Obviously, the subject matter, colour palette, and detail of the image/s finally chosen will have a huge bearing on how this looks and feels.
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Old October 3rd, 2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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New images of £65m India Buildings hotel development

Edinburgh Evening News - 3rd October, 2015

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Fresh images have been unveiled showcasing new plans to transform a huddle of historic buildings in the heart of the city’s Old Town into a luxury four-star hotel.

The £65 million development would see the India Buildings at the top of Victoria Street regenerated alongside neighbouring structures – breathing new life into an often neglected area of the Capital.


Developer Jansons Property argued the scheme would “gentrify” the block and attract footfall and investment into nearby shops and businesses.

But critics have condemned the development as a “hideously bad idea [with] no redeeming qualities whatsoever”.

A planning application for the 235-bed hotel was lodged today, with work set to begin as early as next summer if the scheme gets the go-ahead – and the entire complex is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

The hotel will be operated by leading brand Leonardo Hotels – making it only the company’s second property in the UK after Heathrow Airport – and will sit alongside bars, restaurants and cafes, with a spacious public area centred around the India Buildings’ entrance foyer.

Jansons Property, which also delivered the £35m SoCo development that regenerated part of the Old Town following the 2002 fire, argued its plans would bring an extra £5.3m in visitor spending every year and create hundreds of new jobs. But heritage groups and community leaders are more wary – with one even branding the proposals a “monstrosity”.

Built in the 19th century, the A-listed India Buildings are often seen as one of the city’s hidden architectural gems, boasting a range of stunning original features as well as the former registry office that hosted Scotland’s first ever same-sex civil partnership.

The new plans would retain most of these details – including viewing galleries, a three-tier domed rotunda and the facade facing on to Victoria Street – and would see the building brought back into full-time use for the first time in more than ten years.

Overall designs include restoring the nearby B-listed Cowgatehead Church and turning it into a bustling function space and venue, as well as saving a further C-listed building.

The complex would be linked with a new structure built on a current gap site on Cowgatehead, with the rundown closes that link Victoria Street and the Cowgate cleaned and opened for public use, and a square and pavilion installed to complete the “vibrant new quarter”.


The India Buildings are currently in a state of crumbling disrepair following years of neglect.

Andy Jansons, managing director of Jansons Property, said the company was “determined to make sure that these proposals transform this fantastic area of the city centre”. He said his vision was to lift the quality of Victoria Street and nearby Cowgate while saving important buildings that are otherwise being left to rot.

“Victoria Street is undoubtedly a real gem for residents and visitors alike, and these proposals will help the shops and the street to thrive,” he said.

“Our proposals will also lift what is one of the most rundown frontages of the Cowgate, while – along with the proposals for King’s Stables Road – helping to restore the fortunes of the Grassmarket as a distinctive shopping centre in the city.”

And he openly admitted the company recently objected to doomed plans to turn a former Indian restaurant on the street into a £2m Wetherspoon superpub – arguing the proposals would have “detracted” from the changes his firm is trying to bring in.

“The debate in the area has moved on in recent years from hostels to hotels, and I feel the balance should move even further from ‘drinking dens’ towards shopping and leisure,” he said.

“That way some of the rundown closes can fully realise their potential and make a great place to live and visit, even better.”

The India Buildings site is one of the Edinburgh 12 – important gap sites earmarked by the council as key areas for development. It is understood city chiefs pushed for the plot to become a high quality hotel.

But Bill Cowan, chair of the Old Town community council, said locals were “opposed” to the plans – and would rather it was used for housing.

He said: “The population of the Old Town is declining very rapidly, and it’s being replaced by holidaymakers and students.

“What we need is more residents – the people the council is supposed to represent. But we object to it architecturally as well. It’s hideous – it doesn’t fit in with anything. The whole thing is a monstrosity. ”

Jansons Property insisted it had made a number of changes to accommodate previous feedback and criticisms, including scaling back designs and reducing the height by four storeys.

But Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn Association, also said the “brief” to turn the site into a hotel was wrong – while adding she was “grateful” for the time developers had spent in discussions with the heritage lobby,

She said: “The Old Town needs some affordable housing, not endless hotel and student accommodation.”
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Old October 6th, 2015, 06:02 PM   #7
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Couple of images from Urban Realm. A bigger version of the Candlemaker Row perspective and the view from George IV Bridge.



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Old October 6th, 2015, 06:20 PM   #8
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Does anyone know if the Espionage club is part of the redevelopment? I know G1 Group bought it out of administration this year, so maybe I have answered my own question! :-D

http://news.stv.tv/east-central/1321...dministration/
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Old October 6th, 2015, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenspeckle View Post
Couple of images from Urban Realm. A bigger version of the Candlemaker Row perspective and the view from George IV Bridge.



Looks good!
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Old February 9th, 2016, 01:31 PM   #10
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I'm a bit of sucker for architectural models... Lovely work from Finch & Fouracre showing the India Buildings development a decent chunk of the Old Town surrounding it.












https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CZFpCS8VAAEopm_.jpg:large
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Old February 9th, 2016, 02:47 PM   #11
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Can't wait to see this go forward. Absolutely brilliant in all respects and I'm looking forward to this bringing a variety of visitors to the area too.
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Old April 8th, 2016, 04:53 PM   #12
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I hope they can get a move on with this.

Personally, I'd love to see them get rid of Espionage - the place is such a dive! :-D
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Old April 18th, 2016, 11:03 AM   #13
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Some amemndments have been made to the planning application following discussions with CEC and heritage groups:

Quote:
• Reduction of ten bedrooms within the hotel, to reduce the proposed central buildings mass.

• Amendments to the roof design of the central buildings, to incorporate hipped roof.

• Set back at level six of the southern building (Cowgate elevation).

• Minor change to the façade of Cowgatehead Church’s eastern wing.
Details on the new "hipped" gable design - I'd have thought the original flat gables were more typical of Edinburgh but maybe not.



New renders reflecting the design changes.







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Old May 21st, 2016, 10:24 AM   #14
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Architect warns of dark future for library amid protests over hotel plan

The Herald - 21st May, 2016

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A landmark building designed by feted architect Washington Browne which bears a stone banner engraved with ‘Let There Be Light’ is set to be clouded in shade, according to campaigners.

Protestors are to leaflet users of Edinburgh's Central Library today [Saturday] warning them about plans for a nine-storey hotel on publicly-owned land behind the building which experts have warned will leave the historic building in shadow and end hopes of modernisation.

A planning application for a 225 bedroom hotel on behalf of developers Jansons on the site, which includes the listed India Buildings, is to be discussed by the council next week and the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust (EOTDT), which has been campaigning against the proposals said the protest today would be a "final surge" to stop what it described as a desperate act of short-term economic gain.

Architect Neil Simpson, of EOTDT said there had been little or no consultation about the plans, which he claimed would permanently "shackle" Edinburgh Central Library.

He said: "The land behind the library is publicly owned and belongs to the people of Edinburgh but the Council is short of cash and has decided to sell it off, along with many others in and around the city centre. Stretching from Victoria Street right back to the Cowgate, the massive hotel building will steal daylight and views currently enjoyed by users of Scotland’s best Andrew Carnegie-endowed library, casting a deep shadow on the well-used main lending library and internationally important Edinburgh and Scottish Collections below."

He said the nine-storey hotel building would be separated from the library by a lane less than five metres wide in places and would undermine the long-term vision for the central library.

Ironically, when celebrated architect George Washington Browne, won a competition in 1887 to design a central library for Edinburgh, the site was been selected because "it could be guaranteed plenty of light and air without the threat of interference from other buildings".

Mr Simpson added: "The principal aim of Washington Browne’s design was to maximise light, achieved by the large windows up the full height of the west wall. You can see and admire these from the inside the library and from below in the Cowgate. For 125 years his building has served the people of Edinburgh, who enter beneath a stone banner engraved 'Let There Be Light'.

"The decision to sell the publicly-owned land, once earmarked for the Library extension ... seriously compromises the long-term vision for the Central Library as a significant cultural destination for the city.

"Our efforts to understand how the City is safe-guarding the magnificent George Washington Browne-designed building have been frustrated. The Council was advised in 2002 that 'It would be a hugely wasted opportunity if the [gap] site was developed for other uses without seriously considering how it could, not just solve the existing problems of the Central Library, but re-invent the Central Library in a form relevant to 21st century needs and aspirations'. The recent decision to dispose of the site therefore makes no sense."

The EOTDT has also opposed the proposal on the basis that the area is oversupplied with tourist accommodation while more is needed for residents of the old town. Sean Bradley, the Trust's chair, said: "The City is missing a unique opportunity to enhance the permanent residential population of the Old Town. The old Social Work department building in Victoria Street, included in this sell-off, could have

been converted into much-needed houses for the Old Town, where affordable houses are being lost to holiday lets and private landlords."

The Cowgate Clinic, which provide a range of NHS services to homeless and vulnerable people has also been given notice to quit the site, he added: "We are extremely worried that decisions being taken by the Council are jeopardising the future of the city for its citizens."

Wendy Hebard from Grassmarket Residents' Association said: "We made our views known once we saw the plans and there have been over 200 objections to the scheme, yet these have been very largely ignored by the developers and the Council officials alike."

A spokeswoman for the City of Edinburgh council said it would not comment on live planning applications.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 10:34 AM   #15
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India Buildings Old Town hotel to go ahead despite objections

Edinburgh Evening News - 24th May, 2016

Quote:
A £65 million hotel planned for the heart of the Old Town is set to be given the go-ahead despite objections from heritage groups.

The 225-bedroom hotel – descending from Victoria Street to the Cowgate – will feature a bar, restaurant, cafe, retail and commercial units.

The crumbling 19th century, A-listed India Buildings at the top of Victoria Street is a key part of the proposed redevelopment, as is the B-listed Cowgatehead Church and a further C-listed building.

Hundreds of jobs will be created and experts have estimated that it could be worth more than £5 million a year to the city’s economy.

Developer Jansons Property managing director Andy Jansons said: “These proposals are all about preserving three listed buildings, and bringing a four or five-star hotel development to the city. There is no doubt that an additional £5.3m of annual visitor spend into the Victoria Street and Cowgate area would make a huge difference to some of Scotland’s most iconic shopping areas, and another high-end hotel operator will help to further secure the city’s place as a world-class tourism destination.”

Objectors’ concerns are focused on the new-build element planned for a gap site in the Cowgate, which would be up to nine storeys high.

They said the new buildings – higher than the tenements which occupied the plot until the 1950s – would spoil views and block light from the next-door Central Library. And they criticised the council for selling off the publicly-owned land to the developers instead of reserving it for housing or a library extension.

Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust director Neil Simpson said: “It’s too big a building and will steal daylight and views currently enjoyed by library users.”

He said there had been recent plans to extend the library on to the gap site and the hotel scheme was also a missed opportunity to increase housing provision in the Old Town.

Wendy Hebard from Grassmarket Residents’ Association said: “It is definitely not the case that residents are against development but we want to see proposals that bring a substantial benefit to the local community and the city.

“We made our views known once we saw the plans and there have been over 200 objections to the scheme, yet these have been very largely ignored.”

The India Buildings site is one of the “Edinburgh 12” – important gap sites earmarked by the council as key areas for development. It is understood city chiefs pushed for the plot to become a high quality hotel.

But in February, the hotel scheme was also named by Unesco advisers as one of seven developments it had “strong concerns” about.

Mr Jansons said: “Any development of the area to the rear of the library – including if the proposals were an extension – would have to address the same lighting issues.”

He said if the proposals were approved, he hoped work would begin on site by January with a view to completion in summer 2018.

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Read more: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.co...#ixzz49YnwJuBo
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Old May 24th, 2016, 12:38 PM   #16
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Contrasting opinions in the EEN.

Comment: India Buildings hotel could breathe new life into city

Edinburgh Evening News - 24th May, 2016

Quote:
It seems strange to talk about the Old Town as a forgotten part of Edinburgh when the Royal Mile is one of the most famous streets not just in Britain but around the world.

You don’t have to wander far from the High Street, though, to find some parts that are a far cry from the tourist traps near the Castle and St Giles’.

Victoria Street is of course one of the Capital’s less celebrated gems. In most other cities, it would be the star attraction, but here it is simply somewhere that the *locals quietly treasure and only the slightly more adventurous tourists discover.

Walk any further and the story starts to change a little. The Grassmarket is a wonderful amphitheatre, in a seriously spectacular setting, but it struggles to make the most of its undoubted attractions. Apart from when the stag parties descend on the pubs, it can be surprisingly quiet for somewhere so close to the heart of the city.

No bad thing you might think, but hard if you are trying to run a business, and the major reason a string of traders have struggled to establish themselves there.

Just around the corner, few would dare set foot in some of the alleys between the Cowgate and Victoria Street in broad daylight, never mind after dark. This is part of the city centre that is crying out for investment. The £65 million proposals for a new hotel would transform what is a rundown block in the heart of the Old Town.

Coupled with the proposals to build a hotel and new public square off King’s Stables Road, alongside some affordable housing and student flats, this could breathe new life into a part of the city that will really benefit.

There will be debate and discussion of course about the design of the building and the height of the storeys, even in the ancient neighbourhood that boasts of being the home of the original skyscrapers. But the transformation of this site is long overdue.


Read more: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.co...#ixzz49ZIQ87pM

Neil Simpson: Hotel plan damages future of Central Library

Edinburgh Evening News - 24th May, 2016

Quote:
The lack of public debate about the effect of development on this landmark is a serious cause for concern, writes Neil Simpson.

Our Trust advocates a balance between competing interests in the Old Town with the aim of protecting and enhancing a “living city”. In a dramatic lack of creativity and stunning misdirection of energies, substantial publicly-owned land is being sold off by our council for development as yet another hotel. At what cost to our Old Town?

A key decision by the development management sub-committee tomorrow on the proposal for a 225-bedroom “India Buildings Hotel”, currently recommended by the planners for approval, would permanently shackle the Andrew Carnegie-endowed Edinburgh Central Library, not only blocking light and views from popular public rooms but also hampering transformation of the building for future users.

The proposed hotel stretches from Victoria Street to the Cowgate and includes the sale of the Cowgatehead Church, currently a much-needed NHS clinic for the homeless.

But it is the publicly-owned gap site at the Cowgate, directly to the west of the Central Library, that provides the majority of the land for the nine-storey hotel which will sit as close as five metres from the library’s west wall. Many of the city’s residents believe this piece of land had been reserved for the library expansion.

Alarmingly, the impact of the proposed hotel on this asset is happening without any public debate.

Some will remember the competition-winning proposal by Benson and Forsyth architects for a substantial new library and children’s cultural centre which completely re-animated the Cowgate frontage. Wishful thinking perhaps, but serious assessment of the building followed.

In 2002, a conservation plan for the library produced by LDN Architects stated that: “It would be a hugely wasted opportunity if the [Cowgate] site was developed for other uses *without seriously considering re-inventing the Central Library in a form relevant to 21st century needs and aspirations.”

A follow-up investigation in 2006 reiterated the necessity of the gap site for expansion and concluded: “As the first city in the world to be awarded Unesco City of Literature status, the Central Library should have a profile in the public mind which reflects and contributes towards Edinburgh’s international status.”

In 2011, the city proposed a major redevelopment project incorporating the library, India Buildings, and the gap site which included a literary-themed hotel and a new literature centre: “The surrounding area hosts a vibrant literary life including the National Library of Scotland. This and its prominent position between the galleries on The Mound and the museums in Chambers Street makes it ideally suited as a key resource in the literary and cultural landscape of Scotland’s capital city.”

More recently, in 2013, Bennetts Associates were commissioned to study the Washington Browne-designed building, and shared spaces in the arches with the National Library, though the Council won’t reveal the results of this study.

So why have the supposed guardians of the library been so quiet about the current proposals which, had they been private owners, would have resulted in an almighty stramash?

The absence of public debate at such an important moment for our Central Library is surely to be lamented.

• Neil Simpson is director of Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust (www.eotdt.org)


Read more: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.co...#ixzz49ZIo2z00
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Old May 24th, 2016, 05:13 PM   #17
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I'm curious as to what "concerns" UNESCO have over this development.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 05:28 PM   #18
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I'm curious as to what "concerns" UNESCO have over this development.
plummeting sales of the chip wrapper?
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Old May 25th, 2016, 04:26 PM   #19
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Approved, though the vote was tight at 8-6.
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Old May 25th, 2016, 05:21 PM   #20
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Approved, though the vote was tight at 8-6.
Mmmm....expected this to get through more comfortably.
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