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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Location: St Andrew Square and West Register Street

Project cost: £100 million

Developer: Chris Stewart Group (CSG)

Architects: Unknown

12,000 sq m total development

2,500 sq m of office space
Hotel, serviced apartments, retail and restaurant space

Current Status: Pre-planning - planning application anticipated by January 2015, estimated completion by January 2019

Existing 5th floor plan, showing the flying link across West Register Street

42 St Andrew Square

The imposing and American-inspired 42 St Andrew Square by Leslie Grahame-Thomson and Arthur Davis was built in 1936-42 as the headquarters of the National Bank of Scotland. The bank merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1969 and the building remained the headquarters of RBS until 2006.

Original presentation view by the architect Leslie Grahame-Thomson

Looking west along West Register Street

West Register Street Buildings

38-52 West Register Street comprise a series of interconnected buildings. 38-48 is composed of two B-listed blocks. The north block - opposite The Café Royal - is an early 19th century tenement. This is joined to the south by an 1864 warehouse for Cowans the papermakers in richly-carved Venetian Gothic by W Hamilton Beattie, later used as the Royal Bank Stationary Warehouse.

View from the entrance to The Café Royal

38-48 West Register Street is connected by a 5-storey flying link over West Register Street Lane to offices at 50-52 West Register Street. These open plan 6-storey offices were built in 1978 for RBS administrative services and are connected to 42 St Andrew Square via a flying link on the 5th floor. Planning permission to remove the flying link was granted in 2006.

After RBS relocated to their new offices at Gogarburn in 2006, the collection of buildings was purchased by former Heart of Midlothian owner Vladimir Romanov. Romanov's Lithuanian banking group, UBIG, paid £20 million for the properties in 2007 with the intention of converting them into a boutique hotel but the development never proceeded. UBIG was declared insolvent in 2013 and the properties were put back on the market by the administrators. The site was purchased by the Chris Stewart Group in August 2014.

The wider Register Lanes area was identified as a key development project by the City of Edinburgh Council in 2013, with the aim of unlocking underused spaces and buildings around West Register Street and to complement existing and proposed developments at Multrees Walk, St James Quarter and St Andrew Square.

Proposed West Register Square redevelopment, with connection to St James Quarter

Images from RCAHMS and Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Chris Stewart Group snap up St Andrew Square landmark

Urban Realm - 8th August, 2014

Edinburgh-based property developer The Chris Stewart has announced its purchase of the neo-classical former RBS headquarters in Edinburgh’s, incorporating 42 St Andrew Square with connecting properties on West Register Lane.

Contributing to ongoing commercial work in the vicinity, notably redevelopment of the Scottish Provident building, the scheme will see the listed building restored and a mixed use development on West Register Lanes, offering the potential for 130,000sq/ft of space – 60,000sq/ft of which will be Grade A office accommodation.

Chris Stewart said: “The purchase has just been completed, and there will now be a period of investigation and consultation to assess how best to sensitively redevelop the buildings to secure their future physically and economically.

“We see tremendous scope for a vibrant mixed use development that will add a new dynamic to the area around West Register Lanes with good street level activity and world class hotel and office accommodation.”

A planning application is anticipated within the next six months.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Council welcomes purchase of 42 St Andrew Square

City of Edinburgh Council - 8th August, 2014

Cllr Frank Ross, Economy Convener, quoted in the press release the Chris Stewart Group issued today.

The Edinburgh-based property developer and investment business responsible for the award-winning regeneration of Advocate’s Close in the capital’s Old Town, the Chris Stewart Group, has purchased 42 St Andrew Square and adjoining building on West Register Street for an undisclosed sum.

The 1942 neo-classical listed building on the South East corner of one of Edinburgh’s iconic Georgian squares has stood empty for over seven years and was recently added to the ‘at risk’ register. The purchase by Chris Stewart will now ensure the building’s future and play an important part in the reinvigoration of the area from St Andrew Square through to the St James’ Quarter.

The aim is to transform the two neighbouring buildings that were once RBS’s headquarters to deliver a mixed use development for the West Register Lanes vicinity introducing 60,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation alongside hotel, serviced apartments, retail and restaurant operations. The total area offers 130,000sq ft of development opportunity.

Consultations have now begun on renovations as well as eventual use with the intention of bringing forward a planning application within the next six months.

Chris Stewart commented: “The purchase has just been completed, and there will now be a period of investigation and consultation to assess how best to sensitively redevelop the buildings to secure their future physically and economically. That said we want to move quickly as the buildings and the area deserve to be given new life. We see tremendous scope for a vibrant mixed use development that will add a new dynamic to the area around West Register Lanes with good street level activity and world class hotel and office accommodation.”

He continued: “Our focus as a business is on giving heritage buildings a viable and dynamic future and we recognise and understand the challenges and rewards of working in a sensitive world heritage site. We are very proud of what we have achieved at Advocate’s Close and it is our ambition to do the same for the grand and imposing building at number 42, St Andrew Square.”

With a track record for executing complex transformational city-centre redevelopment projects, the Chris Stewart Group recently secured significant investment capital from Proprium Capital Partners, a global investment advisory firm.

The first deal concluded by the new partnership involved the purchase of Baxter’s Place, a historic Georgian terrace building in Edinburgh’s city centre, which is designated for 240-bed upmarket hotel development. The deal for 42 St Andrew Square, which involved the complex acquisition of non-performing loans backed by the property, was also secured with funding from Proprium.

CSG’s long term objective is to invest in high quality prime locations, drawing on its extensive relationships and experience.

Cllr Frank Ross, Convener of the Economy Committee, said: “This is welcome news as the Council have been working with the Chris Stewart Group, the Scottish Government, Royal Bank of Scotland and the developer of the St James Quarter, TIAA Henderson Real Estate, to look at ways of improving this whole area and to drive forward regeneration at the east end of the city centre. This iconic building is a crucial piece of the jigsaw as it will help to unlock further investment in the Registers Lane area, a key location linking St James Quarter and St Andrew Square.

“There is a report going to the Economy Committee this month to propose that I chair a steering group to facilitate discussions between all parties involved in ensuring that this area has more attractive public space and improved links to Princes Street and the St James Quarter.”

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
£100m plan to revamp Edinburgh’s East End

Edinburgh Evening News - 15th August, 2014

A maze of neglected backstreets in the heart of the Capital is set to be transformed into a haven of boutique shops and restaurants under plans for a £100 million renaissance.

The proposed revival of shabby lanes around West Register Street is being billed as Edinburgh’s answer to London’s Covent Garden, with shops, bars and art galleries expected to line the warren of narrow corridors.

It would breathe new life into a forgotten corner of the city and mean a huge influx of development, including gleaming walkways, distinctive lampposts and a large hotel or
private apartments.

City leaders believe the plans for the east end of Edinburgh will kick-start £97m of investment and create almost 200 jobs.

The rundown district – in the shadow of the National Archives of Scotland and Register House – would boast 40,000 square feet of retail units and 23,000 sq ft of office space.

Once complete, the city’s newest shopping precinct would plug a hole in central Edinburgh, with the backstreets set to explode with commuters using the St Andrew Square tram stop.

At the centre of the restoration, a green oasis will be created in open space beside New Register House – a garden surrounded on all sides by “significant and powerful buildings”.

Officials estimate the development will generate £55m for the city economy and support a further 250 permanent jobs when completed in 2019.

The groundbreaking plans is likely to boost the fortunes of some of Edinburgh’s finest Victorian pubs – the Cafe Royal and Guildford Arms – which anticipate a huge surge in footfall.

Charles Galloway, area manager at DM Stewart, which has owned The Guildford Arms for the past 115 years, described the current trading environment in the lanes as “difficult”.

“It’s great to see the street improved, because for a number of years it’s not been of a great standard,” he said. “We’re very supportive of this scheme, and it’s absolutely great news for the area.

“The hard surfaces desperately need upgraded, whether it be a paved walkway that runs through or a new road.

“In the area, there are a couple of absolutely fabulous architectural buildings, but they are in very poor state of repair.”

Reza Najafi, general manager at The Café Royal, said: “We are very, very excited about the new plans. West Register Street has unfortunately been left behind at times.

“The roads are not great at the moment, but following the announcement from the council we are very excited that there is going to be some development in the area and that will bring some extra business and footfall in the area.”

A team led by city economic leader Cllr Frank Ross will marshal the project while balancing the interests of five major landowners in the area, including the Bank of Scotland, RBS and the Scottish Government.

Cllr Ross hailed the Register Lanes revival as a “real opportunity” to bring life back to an area of Edinburgh that has been “forgotten for quite a few years”.

“There aren’t many people who know about the little gardens that sit behind the buildings there,” he said.

“The idea is to have a nice pedestrian area you can walk through, little cafés, perhaps some small independent shops or art galleries, artisan jewellers, and some places for people to sit and enjoy the gardens.

“It’s a really interesting place in its own right, and the plans are designed to let people
experience it.”

The long-awaited scheme has been unlocked following the purchase of a 19th century architectural gem that has lain empty for years – even before it was bought by former Hearts chairman Vladimir Romanov in 2007.

The property at 42 St Andrew Square, and those adjoining it on West Register Street, were bought by development firm the Chris Stewart Group, which specialises in converting historic properties into luxury apartments, bars and restaurants and is credited with reviving Advocates Close in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Cllr Ross added: “This area has been under our microscope for quite a while, but it was always held up by the fact that two of the buildings at the entrance on St Andrew Square were tied in the Romanov administration.

“The fact the Chris Stewart Group has managed to acquire these two buildings out of the administration in Lithuania has been the catalyst to get everything moving.”

The development is viewed as an important link between George Street and the planned £850m redevelopment of the St James Centre.

Martin Perry, of TH Henderson Real Estate, the firm behind the game-changing St James project that will see the brutalist 1970s eyesore demolished, said: “We welcome the council’s report and we share the optimism about the potential of the Register Lane area to become an area very similar to Covent Garden in London. We see this as entirely complimentary to our proposals for St James, and to Multrees Walk.”

Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, which represents 600 city centre businesses, said: “We’ve had a prime site that has sat empty, and not only has that been a missed opportunity, but some of the space in front of it has been used by people sleeping rough. West Register Street as a lane is not a good advertisement for Edinburgh as things stand at the moment.

“If someone gets off the tram at St Andrew Square, and looks at a map to find out how to get to the Balmoral Hotel, they might walk through West Register Street, but apart from the two fantastic pubs, it’s not a great street. It’s not well-kept and it’s a bit dark.

“Anything which gives that building a lift and gets it being used positively we are absolutely in favour of and give our full backing to.”

The plans are contained in a £60,000 study compiled by council officials which will be debated by councillors on August 19.

Housing part of original plans

Like much of St Andrew Square, the area around West Register Street was intended to be for housing when the New Town was developed in the 18th century. Most of the buildings were grand townhouses, except for one that stands out today: Dundas House, the headquarters for the Royal Bank of Scotland throughout the 19th century.

Built in 1774, the house took the place of a church planned for the site. Named after Sir Lawrence Dundas – its first occupant – the house was sold on by his son, and was a customs house before being passed on to RBS in 1825.


• £97m in total development spend

• £6m of improvements to public spaces

• 40,000sq ft of retail and leisure accommodation

• 178 hotel bedrooms or 97 quality services apartments

• 23,000sq ft of new office space

• 250 new jobs

• £6.6m boost to the city economy every year

• Estimated completion date of January 2019

UKIO Bankas building

This grand 1942 neo-classical building guarding the entrance to West Register Street has lain empty since the collapse of UKIO Bankas in 2013, and is on the “at risk” register of listed buildings.

Acquired by development firm the Chris Stewart Group at the start of August, a future as a boutique hotel, serviced apartments or a top-quality leisure venue looks likely.

Together with neighbouring buildings, they will provide 130,000sq ft of development space.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wonder what'll happen to Dundas House when RBS move out...
I remember talk of RBS putting the property on the market a couple of years back. Have you heard something recently?

As one of the oldest and grandest of New Town buildings it would need to be treated with great care but I could see it working well if sympathetically redeveloped as a high-end hotel - Dundas Mansion and the Banking Hall as front of house with minimal alterations and replacing the modern office buildings to the rear with a block/blocks for accommodation. There's a surprising amount of ground behind Dundas House and I'd have thought there would be plenty of space to develop 200-300 rooms.

It would be the perfect time for the site to be redeveloped so it could happen in tandem with St James and the St Andrew Square/Register Lanes project. Although outside the development area, the site was touched on in the wider public realm proposals for St James Quarter. They proposed a pend through the St James tenements, creating a new pedestrian link using the lane that runs along the side of the Dundas House site, with the current RBS buildings converted for ground floor use and new buildings developed along the route with ground floor retail/catering uses.

Here's the relevant stuff from the St James Quarter design docs.


13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The SCO wants a home and some in the city would like it to be this site. One potential funder particularly favours it.
Interesting. I'm guessing the performance space would have to be new build to the rear of Dundas House? Do you know what form a conversion might take?

I like the idea of more cultural venues in the city centre but I'm still holding out for a multi-arts hub (including facilities for the SCO) on the Argyle House site!

Let us know if you hear anything more.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks like they're not wasting any time. PAN in already.

14/03550/PAN | Mixed use development including residential, office, hotel, serviced apartments, class 1, 2 & 3 uses and involving partial demolition, refurbishment and new build. | 41 - 42 St Andrew Square 9-19 South St Andrew Street 28-60 West Register Street Edinburgh EH2 2AD

The development takes in more of South St Andrew Street than I expected. This and the mention of demolition hopefully signals that the entire 1970s office block will be replaced. Fingers crossed.

Also worth noting that the architects are Morgan McDonnell. Hardly surprising after their work with the same developers on Advocate's Close but the success of that scheme and their Charlotte Square project suggest they'll do a great job with this.

3,963 Posts
Yes - 9-19 St Andrew Square is I think the building with Jobcentreplus / Scotbet and offices above (based on last google street view anyway). More potential for a quality scheme to enhance that street in particular.

151 Posts
I am really excited to see how all this development in and around St. Andrew square will transform the area and integrate it better with the wider city centre. It's come along way since I was younger when the gardens were still private and completely overgrown and Harvey Nichols/Multrees walk was yet to be developed. Now we have lovely gardens, high end shopping and trams running through the square!

Having said that, I am not yet convinced by the architecture at 3-8 St Andrew square...

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square to be transformed

Invest Edinburgh - 16th October, 2014

The south-east corner of Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square is to be transformed after developer Chris Stewart Group acquired the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters. We spoke to Chris Stewart about his latest Edinburgh development…

Why purchase these buildings and why is this site so important?

The buildings we’ve acquired – 42 St Andrew Square and an adjoining building on West Register Street – occupy a very strategic location on the south east corner of Edinburgh’s iconic St Andrew Square. They hold a prominent position on the new tram route and together form a gateway to the proposed St James Quarter.

But, having stood empty for over seven years, neither building currently adds to the city’s reputation as a world-class destination. Number 42 St Andrew Square is an impressive neo-classical building, which reflects the whole art deco era and yet it was recently added to the city’s ‘at risk’ register.

We could see that both buildings have enormous transformational potential and could become important architectural and commercial assets helping to fulfil the city’s demand for Grade A office space and much needed tourism accommodation. They have a part to play in the reinvigoration of the wider area.

What are your plans for it?

The aim is to transform the two neighbouring buildings to deliver a mixed use development for the whole West Register Lanes vicinity introducing 70,000 sqft of Grade-A office accommodation alongside hotel, serviced apartments, retail and restaurant operations. The total area provides up to 150,000 sqft of development opportunity.

Consultations have now begun on the overall development masterplan with the intention of bringing forward a planning application within the next few months.

How is the project being funded/what partners are involved?

In March this year, we secured significant investment capital from Proprium Capital Partners, a global investment advisory firm. The deal also provided us with a partner who understood our vision and our ethos and who would be ready to back us when the right opportunity came along. The purchase of these buildings, which involved the complex acquisition of non-performing loans backed by the properties, was secured with additional funding from Proprium.

What excites you most about the potential of this project?

A high quality, sustainable development such as this can strengthen the city's economy and I believe that we can make better use of urban spaces without compromising our architectural heritage. This is an area of the city that deserves to be given new life.

Delivering a standard of design which reflects both heritage and contemporary values and which befits a World Heritage Site is always a challenging and exciting prospect. We have that experience as demonstrated in the Advocate’s Close development in Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is now thriving.

- See more at:

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Short notice!

Via the Cockburn Association on Twitter .

Public exhibition of proposals for 41-42 St
Andrew Square, 9-19 South St Andrew Street
and 28-60 West Register Street.

The exhibition will take place on
Thursday 27 November 2014 between 3pm
and 8pm at the French Quarter, Voodoo
Rooms, 19a West Register Street, EH2 2AA.

Representatives of the applicant will be
attending the exhibition and will be happy
to explain the proposals and answer your
questions. There will be an opportunity to
provide comment on feedback forms or to
follow up with comments via email to:
[email protected]

Comments should be received by Friday 5th
December 2014.

Proposed Mixed Use Development including residential,
hotel, serviced apartments, offices, class 1, 2 and 3 uses
and involving partial demolition, refurbishment and new build
at 41 - 42 St Andrew Square, 9-19 South St Andrew Street
and 28-60 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AD

It is intended to submit a planning application for the
proposed development in early 2015. You will then have
an opportunity to make representations to City of Edinburgh
Council as planning authority once the application has been


13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I went along to the public exhibition earlier.

The plans for the former bank building are restaurants on the ground floor and serviced apartments or hotel use on the upper levels. I got the impression they favour the former, maybe not surprising given the success of this element of the developer's Advocate's Close project, but personally, I think a conventional hotel would be more appropriate for such an imposing building. They had some great archive photos giving a glimpse of the bank interior (I've never been able to find any publicly available images), including an incredible circular stair/lightwell. There is to be a new build element added to the top of this building.

The flying link across West Register Street is to be removed. Hallelujah.

Then the bad news. The development doesn't include all of the 1978 RBS office development on South St Andrew Street.

The building housing the job centre on the right of the above image is outwith the development and will remain - the developers said they shared my disappointment. The rest of the office buildings are to be replaced, with the building line moved out to match the current ground floor shopfronts (which mark the historic building line).

Along West Register Street, I think it's all new build on the south side. I'm not 100%, but it looked like the 19th century tenement opposite the Cafe Royal is to be replaced, which seems a pity. Thankfully, the incredible Venetian Gothic warehouse to the rear remains.

Warehouse on the left to be refurbished, tenement on the right to be replaced (I think).

The development on the southern half of the site is composed of ground floor retail units with large floorplate office space above.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
£60m renovation plans to restore art deco banking hall revealed

STV Edinburgh - 19th January, 2015

Plans for a £60m regeneration of an art deco banking hall in Edinburgh city centre have been revealed.

Developers hope to renovate the US-inspired building at 42 St Andrew Square to form a new restaurant.

The art deco hall, a former RBS headquarters, was built in 1942 and designed by architects Leslie Grahame Thomson and Arthur Davis.

Significant internal moderations and the removal of two Doric columns at the entrance destroyed the grandeur of the space in the 1970s.

The Chris Stewart Group will put plans to restore the derelict building on display tomorrow, Tuesday January 20, where it forms part of a comprehensive regeneration of The Registers area around West Register Street.

Andrew Wright, the architectural historian for the project said: “The banking hall is an architectural gem and it would be a major benefit to the city to see the principal spaces preserved and any damaged restored with this development.

“I would encourage those interested in good examples of design from the 1930s to attend the exhibition on January 20th to view the plans for giving this building a new lease of life.”

The consultation process will lead to a formal planning application for the redevelopment of the area scheduled for the beginning of March.

Chris Stewart, CEO of Chris Stewart Group, said: “We hope to restore this magnificent banking hall as part of plans to bring new life to The Registers.

“We want to build upon the quality and drama of the city centre environment with beautiful buildings, new businesses and a vastly improved public realm, and intend to submit our detailed planning application within the next couple of months.

Mr Stewart continued: “By creating a new vibrancy with buildings and public spaces that work together as part of one cohesive vision this will be another distinctive area that enhances the special character of the city.”

The exhibition will take place at 42 St Andrew Square, EH2 2AD, between 3pm and 8pm on Tuesday 20th January 2015.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I dropped by the second public exhibition earlier this evening.

There was a bit more detail than the last exhibition, with a fly-though video around the development and some nice CGI renders of a few key views.

The Venetian Gothic-style warehouse on West Register Street Lane is the only building retained south of West Register Street, which unfortunately means the B-listed 19th century tenement on the corner is destined to be demolished along with the 1960s offices.

The new build elevations are conventional - strongly vertical with stone pilasters and extensive glazing - but it looks quite sharp, South St Andrew Street in particular. The upper levels are metal clad (zinc?) and stepped back from the building line. The former bank building has a single storey roof top extension, again stepped back and metal-clad but this time in copper, I think. The only thing that jarred was where the replacement roof of the retained warehouse meets the new build, which looked a little awkward from what I could see.

The upper floors of the former bank are to be serviced apartments - the hotel option was no longer mentioned, unfortunately. The ground floor looks like it is to be divided up into three restaurant/cafe units. The centrepiece restaurant would be in the former banking hall, which will have some original features restored and later interventions, such as the mezzanine floor, removed.

The new build block on the other side of West Register Street will contain open plan offices on the upper floors and three retail units, two of which are quite large, on the ground floor.

Overall, it looks extremely promising. It's going to completely transform the immediate area.

13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
St Andrew Square public consultation launched

Urban Realm - 21st January, 2015

The Chris Stewart Group, developer behind a £60m plan to regenerate the Register Lanes area of Edinburgh off St Andrew Square, has launched a public consultation into their plans to transform the space.

Capitalising on renewed interest in the area with redevelopment of the St James Centre and Scottish Provident building the work will see a new mixed use district carved out of the Register Lanes.

This will see the A-listed former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters at 42 St Andrew Square retained, including restoration of its art deco banking hall to form a new restaurant with apartments above in a restoration project overseen by Morgan McDonnell Architects.

Street level activation in the form of leisure and restaurants will also be introduced to the lanes area in a bid to deter anti-social behaviour together with a new waste management strategy which will see the removal of all refuse bins from footpaths and roads.

New build elements will be led by Gareth Hoskins Architects adopting a simple palette of stone and glass with setback metal and glass penthouse floors added at roof level.

In a statement the developer said: “The vision is to deliver the comprehensive regeneration of an underutilised part of the city, bringing new life to the existing redundant buildings and surrounding lanes, whilst also restoring and conserving 42 St Andrew Square and sensitively revealing the fine details of the Victorian Venetian Gothic façade on West Register Street.”

A formal planning application is due to be submitted by March.


13,150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Looks like this has a new name - "The Registers" - It's costing significantly less than first announced, £60m down from £100m, and scheduled for completion in March 2017. As mentioned in the previous article, Gareth Hoskins Architects are on now board in addition to Morgan McDonnell Architects, with the former working on the new build block and the latter handling the conversion of the former bank building.

Plans for £60m New Town development near St Andrew Square revealed

STV Edinburgh - 22nd January, 2015

Proposals for a £60m regeneration project on St Andrew Square, West Register Street and South St Andrew Street have been unveiled.

They include the demolition of an 1850s grade B listed Victorian building and a set of 1960s buildings, which will be replaced by new builds. Plans also include the restoration of a grade A neo-classical building and a grade B Venetian Gothic building.

A public exhibition was held at 42 St Andrew Square on Tuesday by the Chris Stewart Group, who acquired the space in August last year.

Over 80 people attended the event, with the developer saying they had a positive response on the improvements the project would have in enhancing the lanes around the site and attracting more permanent workers to the area.

Aerial view of St Andrew Square

Although still in the consultation process, the formal planning application for the redevelopment of the area is scheduled for the beginning of March. If approved, it would spell an 18-month construction project, with developers hoping to start work around September this year.

The current design

Have a look at the proposals for each of the buildings collectively named the ‘The registers' regeneration project by the developers.

42 St Andrew Square

This is grade A listed building was built in 1942 and designed by architects Leslie Grahame Thomson and Arthur Davis. Having lain empty for a number of years, the building is on the at-risk register.

There is a bridge link across to West Register Street and three interconnected buildings. Together these were once the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland but have been vacant since 2006.

The intention of the Chris Stewart Group is to refurbish 42 St Andrew Square for either hotel, residential or serviced apartment with retail, restaurants and bars at street level.

They also hope to restore the art deco banking hall and create an entrance point from West Register Street.

The banking hall in the 1940s

“One of the main things, in the 1960s when the Royal Bank acquired this building, they knocked out two beautiful columns and put this glazed frontage in and put a mezzanine floor and took away the stunning double height atrium,” Marie-Jane Gray, from the Chris Stewart Group, said.

“What we are looking to do is take out that mezzanine and reinstate the double height.

The development proposal

“We are also keen to open up off West Register Street so we are creating this vitality and vibrancy and really reinvigorating the whole area because there are some fantastic business and bars down here - The Guildford arms and The Cafe Royal, which are institutions but unless you are told about them or know about them, they are really hard to find.

“The other thing the council is looking at doing is opening up and creating more permeability between the St James Quarter, here, and through onto St Andrew Square.

“We want to bring the building back to its old grandeur and splendour.”

38-52 West Register Street and 15-23 South St Andrew Street

The buildings on West Register Street include a 1960s office building facing South St Andrew Street, a Victorian B listed building on the corner of West Register Place and a former warehouse building, also B listed, which has a Venetian Gothic façade. At South St Andrew Street, a further 1960s office building is included within the proposals.

Office use is being proposed for the West Register Street and South St Andrew Street building, with retail, restaurant and bars on street level.

The proposal is to demolish and replace the 1850s Grade B listed Victorian and the 1960s buildings. The Venetian Gothic façade will be restored.

“There is a massive lack of Grade A [office] space at the moment,” Marie-Jane Gray said.

“There is also a lack of development that is going to complete between now and 2017 so for the next couple of years, we as a city are going to suffer a serious lack of high-end office accommodation. We have to answer demand from a developer point of view.

“It brings more people to the square. It brings potentially a five star accommodation offering that is different from what is already available in the city.”

The development proposal

Speaking about the possibility of West Register Street being pedestrianised, Marie-Jane added: “We don't know at the moment, that's not up to us, it is up to the council.

“We are looking at how we could make it work to be pedestrianised. The important thing is that we maintain access for emergency vehicles, potentially for servicing vehicles and so that cyclists can still use it.”
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