Caltongate Edinburgh, Architect, Old Town Development, Info, Photo, Design, Picture, News

Caltongate Edinburgh Development

New Street Bus Station Redevelopment: Market Street Buildings, Old Town

18 Feb 2016
Caltongate Building Photos
Photos of the new Market Street arches Edinburgh and elegant new building at the corner of Jeffrey Street and Market Street, a clever device to turn the corner with the main orthogonal form of the building block set back:

Caltongate Market Street arches Edinburgh

Caltongate Market Street arches

Caltongate Jeffrey Street building Edinburgh

Caltongate Market Street building Edinburgh

building photo © Adrian Welch

30 Sep 2014

Caltongate Development News

Caltongate Building News

Photos of the demolition progress for this major Old Town redevelopment.

Market Street building demolition, looking south towards the Royal Mile from near to the City Council offices entrance:

Market Street Building
building photo © Adrian Welch

Market Street Building Demolition
building photo © Adrian Welch

30 Jan 2014

Caltongate Development Approval

The Caltongate development has been given the go-ahead after more than a decade of controversy and planning hurdles.
30 Jan 2014 – The Caltongate site will see a £150m leisure, retail and office development covering a total area of around 220,000 sqft built on a derelict five-acre gap site central Edinburgh, reports The Scotsman.

Caltongate Development
picture from the developers

South African backers Artisan Real Estate Investors were narrowly granted permission for the project at the City Chambers, with councillors split at eight votes to six.

Artisan said it would begin construction of the site behind Edinburgh Waverley Station this summer with the first of the buildings on the site ready by around Christmas 2015. It will create about 2,000 jobs.

Best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith had been a vocal critic, warning of the consequences for the city ahead of the decision yesterday, while fellow novelist Candia McWilliam described it as “torpid, tactless”.

“How can we destroy the very thing that brings people from all over the world to Edinburgh?”, Mr McCall Smith said. “How can we allow inappropriate and ugly developments when there are plenty of constructive ways of regenerating old areas? How can those in charge of these matters ignore the chorus of well argued and concerned criticism of such plans? “The Old Town is one of the great glories of Scotland, indeed of Europe.”

Among the complaints was the impact of modern buildings within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Euan Leitch, representing the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, told the committee that Caltongate will look like Edinburgh Park, the steel and glass office development near Edinburgh Airport.

Marco Biagi, the Edinburgh Central MSP, was heavily critical of the design, adding: “In 20 years people will probably look back on Caltongate as they do on the St James Centre”, in reference to the city’s ‘brutalist’ 1960s shopping centre.
Local residents had also criticised the provision for housing, highlighting the fact that only 185 housing units, including 40 in the ‘affordable’ category, would be built in such a large site.

Councillor Ian Perry, the city’s planning leader, was booed from the packed public gallery at one stage when he said that the scheme was “good enough” to be approved. His own deputy Sandy Howat voted against approval.

Caltongate will be centred around a £6.5 m civic square. It will also feature a five-star hotel along with two budget hotels, a 128-room Premier Inn and a 130-room Hub by Premier Inn, which features micro-rooms like those found in Japan.

20 Aug 2013

Caltongate Detailed Planning Application

Detailed Planning Application

Artisan Real Estate Investors has now lodged a detailed planning application for the Caltongate area of the Old Town.

Its 220,000 sqft mixed-use scheme will be centred on a £6.5m civic square with office space, a 400-bed hotel, 28 shops, and nearly 200 homes.

New designs:
Caltongate Development
picture from the developers

Up to 720 jobs will be sustained during the building phase, which is planned to start in spring 2014.
The revived Old Town gap site is expected to generate about £43m for the local economy a year, according to the developer.

Artisan managing director Lukas Nakos said: “This planning application marks a significant milestone in the evolution of one of the most challenging city centre developments anywhere in the UK. We are now delivering on our promises made when we first started this process some 18 months ago.

“We now have the opportunity to create, in the very heart of Edinburgh, one of Europe’s most exciting and vibrant mixed-use communities which will set an international benchmark for sensitive and innovative development.

“During the last 18 months, we have listened to a huge variety of views and opinions on the development of the site and heard impassioned arguments relating to its unique importance, setting, heritage and community.

“Our planning application reflects this varied and dynamic consultation process and we feel we now have a proposal which balances ambitious and flexible commercial priorities with a genuine understanding of the area’s community and civic context.
“Artisan will bring international capital investment of £150m to the table, coupled with the vision and commitment needed to complete what has already been started.

Empty Caltongate site:
Caltongate site
image © Adrian Welch

“This is a long overdue opportunity to revitalise a strategic city-centre location between Waverley station and the Scottish Parliament – whilst being part of the very fabric of the historic heart of the city.
“The location is the missing piece of the jigsaw which will see the rejuvenation of the Old Town as a vibrant commercial and social quarter of international appeal.”
Edinburgh-based Allan Murray Architects drew up the plans for Caltongate.

21 Mar 2013

Caltongate Planning Consent News

Planning Approval Agreement

The developer behind Edinburgh’s Caltongate site has been given a three-year extension to its planning approval, reports the BBC.

Previous designs:
picture from the developers

Developer Artisan is now legally entitled to demolish two listed buildings. It asked councillors to take “on trust” that it would not proceed with the work. However, residents have expressed concern that the demolitions might go ahead.

Artisan said it needed to renew the original master plan to preserve the value of the Royal Mile site and attract the investment necessary to allow the revised plans to go ahead. However, the Old Town community council argues the original master plan is now outdated and the demolition consent should be removed.

At Edinburgh City Council’s development subcommittee, councillors backed the company by 11 votes to 2, granting Artisan a three-year extension to the original planning consents. Marion Williams, director of Edinburgh’s campaigning heritage group the Cockburn Association, said the planning committee’s decision was one of the worst she had ever seen.

She said: “Our major concern is the developer is receiving permissions to demolish two buildings where there has been work done to prove there are viable alternatives. And the material conditions behind the original planning consent have changed because the economic climate in 2008 was completely different to where we are now in 2013.” South Africa-based Artisan said it intends to invest a seven-figure sum in fully revised planning and design with phased work due to start next year.

Adrian Welch, editor of said “Consent should be cancelled. The listed buildings are part of the rich texture of the Old Town which is already wearing very thin in this area. There are always ways to creatively re-use such buildings. Pressure should be placed on the developer to progress this rapidly ahead of the new-build development which clearly needs much more time to consider. It is crucial the council takes a firm lead here and ensure top quality designs by top quality architects. I’ve said it before but it is worth restating, the North Holyrood masterplan serves as an excellent prototype for this site – a rich matrix of architecture, universally applauded by locals and visitors alike”.

30 Aug 2012

Caltongate – Agreement News

Compromise Agreement

Edinburgh City Council reaches compromise agreement with the new developer Artisan who will make £6.5m worth of improvements to the area around the site, but just a £50,000 contribution to the city’s tram project.

22 Aug 2012

Caltongate Development – News

Caltongate Site Start

WORK is set to get underway within months on one of Edinburgh’s most notorious gap sites after developers said they would retain almost half of a £300 million scheme off the Royal Mile, reports The Edinburgh Evening News today.

However, some of the more contentious elements of the “Caltongate” project are set to be dropped or scaled back under plans to redraw much of the original blueprint, which triggered an international inquiry into Edinburgh’s world heritage status.

A listed former school building that had been earmarked for demolition could now be saved after new architects were called in to redesign the southern half of the blueprint for the site, 
including a new public square and arts quarter.

New plans are expected to be submitted to the city council in the autumn, but developers Artisan insist some elements of the scheme do not need planning permission for work to begin.

Work is expected to start shortly on several sections of the site adjacent to Calton Road, where a temporary hotel is currently operating for the Fringe. This includes a mixture of regular and affordable housing blocks, office space, retail units and a car park.

However, the prospect of other changes has raised hopes that the Canongate Venture building, which was due to be replaced as part of a hotel and conference centre complex, could become home to a proposed new writers’ centre.

Lukas Nakos, frontman for the South African consortium which bought the gap site out of administration last year, said it had an “open mind” on parts of the site now and pledged the final blueprint would only be decided at the end of an 
ongoing consultation process.

Empty Caltongate site:
Caltongate development site
image © Adrian J Welch

Plans to turn the former Victorian school into a new arts centre emerged months after the previous developers in charge of Caltongate went into administration.

The old school building, which dates back to 1901, would become a hub for publishers, 
literary organisations, writers and illustrators, under a bid by the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust.

Mr Nakos said: “We are looking at redesigning the whole southern section of the development site, roughly from the arches on Market Street and the proposed public square to the Royal Mile.

“We have not made any final decisions over this area. We are well aware of the plans for the literary centre in the Canongate Venture building.


10 Jan 2012

Caltongate News

World Heritage Site Status

Fears capital could lose its World Heritage Site status, report the Glasgow Herald. The United Nations is poised to “call in” controversial £300m plans for a hotel and conference centre amid fresh concerns of a threat to Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site status.

A South African-led consortium has developed similar plans for Caltongate to those that prompted UNESCO to send the previous developers of the 640,000 sqft site back to the drawing board.

Now heritage watchdogs are preparing a new case to go to Unesco to prevent the city being stripped of its World Heritage Site status.

UNESCO investigators warned previously that “to avoid the development having an impact on the outstanding universal value, authenticity and integrity of the World Heritage property” developers should carry out a total redesign.

Despite some compromise on keeping two listed building facades, concerns remained over the demolition of the Canongate School – despite ongoing studies into keeping the building and re-using it as a community hub – and the scale and ambience of the development.

Artisan Real Estate Investors plans to build:-
– a 195,000 sq ft, five-star hotel with 211 bedrooms
– an 18,000 sq ft conference centre
– around 160,000 sq ft of office space
– 30 new shops and cafes
– 165 new homes

Further detailed plans are due to be lodged with the council within weeks. It will also go before the UN World Heritage committee.

David Black, of the Historic Buildings Trust, has also contacted UNESCO, warning Edinburgh could suffer the same fate as the Baroque German city of Dresden, which was deleted from UNESCO’s list in 2009 because of the building of a four-lane bridge in the city.

16 Dec 2011

Caltongate News from 2011

Caltongate Revival

The redevelopment of Edinburgh’s Caltongate site in Edinburgh’s Old Town is back on, according to the Edinburgh Evening News.

The consortium, lead by Artisan Real Estate Investors, hopes to produce designs based on the previous plans in the new year. This consortium, including South African developers, has bought part of the land, which has planning for a hotel, office complex, 30 shops and 160 homes. The new plans are likely to be more modest.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, convener of the council’s economic development committee, said the fact Artisan had chosen Edinburgh illustrated how attractive the city was for foreign investors. The new plans are only for part of the land from the initial development. Several of the plots belonged to the city council, which withdrew them from the sale being handled by administrators Deloitte. However, Artisan has approached the council to acquire some of these assets. This will be debated by councillors on 22 Dec 2011.

Caltongate Development News

Caltongate Revival?

A company which has never invested outside of the Canadian city of Calgary has been revealed as the firm that wants to revive the controversial Caltongate scheme, reports The Scotsman.
Prism Developments is on the brink of a deal to buy up the site off the Royal Mile and develop it in line with the original plans, which bit the dust when previous developer Mountgrange collapsed in early 2009.
The company has only ever worked in and around the Calgary area in relatively small schemes but is now planning its first venture in Europe.
Property experts have expressed shock that a firm with no international track record is set to snap up one of Edinburgh’s most valuable gap sites, which could make way for hundreds of homes, offices, a five-star hotel and conference centre and a series of shops and cafes.
Ali Ghana, who heads up Prism Developments, has confirmed in Canada that his company is ready to invest in the Caltongate site, which is being sold by Mountgrange administrator Deloitte on behalf of the company’s biggest creditor, Bank of Scotland.
One property insider said: “We checked with contacts in Canada and they said that these guys are basically frontmen with a number of secondary developments in Canada.
“It is a small operation that goes out and looks for investors. That does not make them bad people but it means they have no real experience.
“For a scheme of this size, it is unusual that the bank would look to move it forward with someone who has no real track record. But as long as they get their money in they won’t care.”
The city council, which withdrew its own land and property assets from the site because of frustration at the amount of time it was taking Deloitte to strike a deal, could come to an agreement for the developer to snap up the assets again.
Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “Obviously we would like somebody to take the Caltongate site forward.
“We will not get into detailed discussions until we know what they have agreed with Deloitte. But if someone takes on the former Mountgrange land we will look to enter into discussions on the way for forward.”
Stewart Taylor, a director at the property firm CB Richard Ellis in Edinburgh, said: “It would be good for the city if someone is finally about to develop (that site]. The fact that there have been issues with other large developments, such as at Haymarket, means it would be a good thing if that scheme is about to come forward”. 3 Mar

Caltongate Development Plans

Caltongate Alternative
Caltongate Alternative
picture from architect
Caltongate alternative proposal designed by ANTA architecture. 22 Mar 2010

Caltongate Project – News Update
UNESCO inspectors’ report demands the council review the whole Caltongate development according to The Scotsman. UNESCO inspectors are reportedly demanding a reprieve for two listed buildings threatened with demolition, removal of the new building on Jeffrey Street, and a full review of how the development would impact on views from Calton Hill. With the developer in administration the city council is now under intense pressure to react, as they retain ownership of the land designated for the hotel. 6 Jun 2009

Caltongate Development

Caltongate News Update
Taskforce, led by Save Our Old Town, set up to rejuvenate empty buildings and landscape vacant space left by the collapse of developers Mountgrange. 4 Apr 2009

Caltongate News Update
The developers Mountgrange Capital have gone into administration. 23 Mar 2009

Directors of Mountgrange Capital – Martin Myers and Manish Chande – have appointed Deloitte but are reportedly also considering buying the firm’s assets out of administration.

Text from Malcolm Fraser + James Simpson. 2 Apr 2009

[see link above]

Approval – News Update
Approved by Ministers Sep 2008 – no Public Enquiry

Caltongate Caltongate Edinburgh Caltongate buildings Caltongate Edinburgh design
pictures from the developers

Caltongate Architects
Allan Murray Architects – masterplan
Allan Murray Architects + CDA – main section
RHWL + PagePark – hotel
Malcolm Fraser Architects – Jeffrey Street and/or Leith Wynd building
Zone Architects – Market Street Arches

In the Summer of 2008 at least 60 architects in Edinburgh have lost their jobs due to the credit crunch and housing market failure: approval of the Caltongate project will help the city and especially in the near future all those involved in property, development and construction. Issues re the removal of buildings on the historic High Street and the lovely Victorian school have understandably upset campaigners and lessons must be learnt re dialogue.
However even the smallest proposal in central Edinburgh – such as Richard Murphy’s considered Hart Street house design – are lambasted before they hit planning so dialogue is clearly difficult when a kneejerk reaction to any changes, especially contemporary architecture, is guaranteed.
Adrian Welch, 1 Oct 2008

Caltongate Context Photographs on Royal Mile from Oct 2008:
Caltongate existing buildings Royal Mile buildings Royal Mile property High Street building
images © Adrian Welch

Previously, Aug 2008:
Caltongate Problems
As developments in the capital grind to a halt and architects lay off staff the latest casualty is the major Caltongate scheme. A “procedural mistake” has been made by the planning department.

Council Officials have disastrously been forced to write back to all 350 Caltongate objectors, inviting them to submit further comments and present any new evidence they believe should be considered. This may delay the project.

The requirement to give objectors another 14 days to comment was apparently overlooked by council officials. The Caltongate planning application will have to be considered again, before going back to ministers for another final decision.

Development in the city is notoriously slow – the project received planning way back in June 2007.

The UNESCO review of the city’s World Heritage Status – reportedly driven by concerns over Caltongate – may be sited by objectors.

The Town and Country Planning (notification of applications) (Scotland) Direction 2007 requires councils with a financial interest in a development to contact all objectors after a local decision has been reached. Only after residents have been given a further chance to comment should ministers be asked to make a final decision. 7 Aug

Caltongate aerial
picture from architect

UNESCO / Caltongate – News Update Jul 2008
Like the IOC and the European Commission, UNESCO is an undemocratic body that wields immense power. Apparently the Government’s decision not to call the Caltongate plans in has made Unesco want to review the city’s world heritage status: they will send a mission to Edinburgh, in particular to the Caltongate development

Caltongate Approved
Caltongate proposals approved, but to be referred to Scottish ministers + demolition of Canongate tenements unapproved. Controversial meeting lasted until after 7pm

Caltongate design
image from Mountgrange via PPS Group 290507

Caltongate – News
James Simpson condemned the Caltongate project, saying it would damage Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.

He maintained that the Caltongate developers should “go back to the drawing board…The case for demolition has not been made at all. It is in good repair, is structurally sound and is still in use for its original purpose…There is no doubt that the redevelopment of the old bus depot site at New Street is a good thing but I do think it is regrettable that the council has seen fit to encourage the developer to develop a wider area by knocking down listed buildings and a perfectly good tenement building on the Canongate…In a medieval town like Edinburgh, any development should be kept to a minimum but it has been profoundly misguided to encourage a development as big as this one is now.”

Royal Mile photo
photo © Adrian Welch 270907

James Simpson said demolishing the tenement would be against policies and guidance of Historic Scotland and the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust.

In a separate development a decision on the Caltongate development is delayed due to a site visit following objections from Canongate Kirk re 5-storey blocks on Calton Road.

Caltongate view Caltongate sketch Caltongate proposal
images from Mountgrange via PPS Group 290507

On the Scotsman’s Forum the Caltongate proposals are described with vitriol, eg. “Boring, unattractive, and with no sense of place or style” and compared with Tel Aviv, central Frankfurt & Plymouth!

Ipsos MORI is collecting views on the proposed regeneration of the former New Street bus depot and East Market Street (known commonly as Caltongate) on behalf of a range of organisations including the developers (Mountgrange Caltongate Ltd), the Caltongate Liaison Group and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Caltongate – News
A+DS design review generally supportive of Caltongate proposals, Jul 2007

Caltongate – Malcolm Fraser Architects’ proposals
View looking east along Market Street with Jeffrey Street above, right:
Jeffrey St building

Edinburgh’s new city council leader describes latest Caltongate proposals for the site between Jeffrey St and Market St as ‘grotesque and hideous…pretty gross’. It’s not only Jenny Dawe that seems hot and bothered: vitriolic comments (some clearly crazy) abound on the Evening News forum as the Anti-Caltongate campaign [Save Our Old Town group] seems to gain yet more strength. It seems like the whole debate that erupted re Allan Murray Architects’ proposals for this site (for EDI) has reignited. 220507

Market Street view with Zone Architects’ Arches redevelopment in foreground:
Market Street design

Caltongate hotel image (no larger picture, apologies):
Caltongate hotel
image from Mountgrange via PPS Group 290507

Caltongate development public meeting
24 May, Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge
Organiser: Old Town Community Council

New Street Edinburgh – 30 Jan 2007 Photos:

New Street Edinburgh Calton Gate

New Street Edinburgh – 4 Oct 2006 Update
Planning Approved

Architects involved at this site
Allan Murray Architects + CDA – main section, former New St Bus Station
RHWL + PagePark Architects – hotel
Malcolm Fraser Architects – Jeffrey Street and/or Leith Wynd building
Zone Architects – Market St Arches

Comments / information re Caltongate development welcome:

Caltongate project context : Edinburgh City Council HQ

New St Bus Depot – Competition
Winners announced Mar 2005:
New St Bus Station
photo © Adrian Welch

CDA – with Allan Murray Architects – competition win for New St Bus Station redevelopment announced at last: £150m scheme for Mountgrange Capital. The proposal replaces previous Gensler / Hackland & Dore Calton Gate scheme for Cuckfield

Jan 2006 News Update:
Calton Gate pedestrian bridge over Waverley Valley reportedly put on hold.

Calton Gate demolition?
photo © Adrian Welch 270907

Nov 2005 News Update:
New Street Edinburgh
Canongate Community Forum has, in their words (e-mail to Adrian Welch Dec05), “been set up by 2 local residents in the Canongate to raise awareness of the proposed Mountgrange Ltd plans and the City of Edinburgh Council’s involvement; formed following developer Mountgrange’s plans to flatten listed flats to make way for offices, modern apartments and a five-star hotel: New Street Edinburgh.

Caltongate Caltongate Edinburgh Caltongate Edinburgh Caltongate Edinburgh

North Canongate Infant School is listed, known as Canongate Venture these days, built by Robert Wilson 1900-01. Also listed: 221-227 Canongate 1930’s tenements, part of the pioneering work at 221-229 Canongate by E J MacRae.
Canongate Community Forum’s Save Our Old Town campaign:”.

Caltongate : previous proposals

Designers working on the project:
PagePark Architects
Malcolm Fraser Architects
Zone Architects

Caltongate development context : Edinburgh Old Town

Calton Gate – Gensler Architects
£100m mixed-use development, New Street, Edinburgh
received detailed planning permission from City of Edinburgh Council:
Calton Gate, Edinburgh
redevelopment image from Gensler Architects

Calton Gate was designed for the Cuckfield Group by one of the world’s largest Architects practices, Gensler, with Hackland & Dore Architects of Edinburgh

Scottish Architecture

Edinburgh Tours : Architecture Walking Tours

Caltongate buildings context : Calton Road

Caltongate masterplan architects : Allan Murray Architects

Key Architecture in Edinburgh

Hotel Missoni


Meadowbank Stadium

Leith Docks

Calton Square

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
picture © Adrian Welch

Website: Edinburgh, Lothian

Calton Hill

Comments / photos for the Caltongate Development Architecture page welcome

Caltongate Edinburgh Building : page