SoCo Edinburgh, Old Town Fire Site, Whiteburn, Images, Developer, News, Design

SoCo, Edinburgh : Cowgate Fire Site

Old Town Redevelopment, Edinburgh – by Allan Murray Architects

20 Feb 2014

SoCo Edinburgh News

Old Town Fire Site
As the SoCo development completes the Edinburgh Evening News has produced a video about this major inner-city development on the Cowgate and South Bridge.

“Connecting the festival-friendly districts of Cowgate, Chambers Street and South Bridge it is thought the new stone walkways will prove an August hit with Fringe revellers and breathe life into a gap site that has lain dormant since December 2002.”

A huge stone plaque which greets visitors to SoCo’s Cowgate entrance reveals the new name for the complex – the Alexander Building. It commemorates the 18-year-old son of SoCo developer Andy Jansons, who died last July from a rare heart complication.

24 Jun 2012

SoCo Edinburgh – Cowgate Fire Site News

Construction of the major development on a notorious Old Town gap site which has lain empty for nearly a decade is set to begin within weeks, reports the Edinburgh Evening News.

SoCo Edinburgh

An Ibis hotel, shops and a nightclub will be created as part of £35m proposals for the derelict site in the Cowgate, which succumbed to a massive fire in December 2002.

SoCo is billed as the “largest city centre regeneration scheme in many years” – which will see the erection of a 259-bed hotel, two shops on South Bridge, two other commercial units and the revival of La Belle Angelle nightclub, which perished when the blaze broke out in rooms above it.

New public and civic spaces, as well as fresh routes between the Cowgate, Chambers Street and South Bridge will also be created.

Developer Jansons Property has commissioned an archeological survey that is nearing completion and it is understood initial works could begin within a fortnight. The full development is expected to be finished by late summer 2013.

SoCo Approved

Unanimous approval for SoCo design by Allan Murray Architects. Congratulations to Whiteburn and the design team in the face of typical objections.

Elements include a 200-bedroom hotel, shops, a festival venue and La Belle Angele nightclub in the basement.

Aspects requiring further attention include the height of hotel bedroom tower, and the South Bridge facade materials

New Images released 220109:

SoCo SoCo SoCo SoCo

SoCo – So Good
Press Release, 22 Jan 2009

Planning application for Cowgate fire-hit site is unanimously praised and approved by Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh developer Whiteburn Projects was granted approval for the SoCo planning application yesterday (Wednesday 21 January 2009). The plans to construct a mixed use redevelopment on the derelict Cowgate fire-hit site in the heart of the Scottish capital were approved by the planning committee with only minor items of reserve to be agreed.

Due to be completed in 2011, the £40 million development will provide a much needed boost to the current construction industry, with building work set to start this year providing over 200 jobs, as well as signifying the long awaited regeneration of this area of the city.

SoCo Edinburgh SoCo Edinburgh SoCo Edinburgh SoCo Edinburgh

John Shepherd, chief executive of Whiteburn, said: “Our vision is to regenerate this blighted area of our beautiful city which has lain derelict since the devastation of fire in 2002. This part of the Cowgate was once a vibrant part of the Old Town, catering for the needs of many, and we are delighted that we can soon begin work redeveloping the area, making it an integral part of Edinburgh’s urban offering once again.

“We will continue to work hard with the planners and the council over the next few weeks to iron out the few items of reserve and ensure the site is transformed into a premier destination for people to stay, work and relax in the very near future. We are now well on the way to transforming this long-standing gap site, providing local jobs – and hopefully kick-starting the regeneration of the whole South Bridge/Cowgate area.”

He added: “Whiteburn Projects, Allan Murray Architects and the rest of our team have worked tirelessly to meet the City of Edinburgh Council’s planning brief for this site and we are pleased to have received such a positive, encouraging response from the planning committee today.”

The proposals followed the development brief which laid down guidelines for any redevelopment, and which was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council following extensive consultation in 2003. The planning application was submitted in September 2008 and, subject to the granting of the necessary liquor licences and building permits from the local authority, construction will commence later this year.

Allan Murray, from Allan Murray Architects of Edinburgh, enlisted by Whiteburn to draw up designs for the project, said: “The design for this area of the Cowgate was complex and many factors had to be considered. We took on board findings from consultations and the extensive heritage report to produce a design which is a contemporary interpretation of the existing buildings on South Bridge and the Cowgate. SoCo will be a collection of buildings in sympathy with the contrasting urban grains of Chambers Street, South Bridge and the Cowgate, complemented by a network of closes and vennels. A series of courts, terraces and entrance spaces at different levels, with different uses, will bring vibrancy to the area. We are encouraged by the positive outcome from the planning committee and we look forward to seeing our proposals brought to life in the very near future.”

The South Bridge/Cowgate site, at one time the bustling J&R Allan department store, was once 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. The approval of this planning application brings the project one step closer to restoring the area to its former glory in the not too distant future.

News Update – Dec 2008
Images of the proposals:

SoCo Edinburgh SoCo South Bridge SoCo Cowgate
SoCo buildings image from Weber Shandwick 191208

News Update – Sep 2008
A 200-bedroom hotel, a festival venue and glass walkways all feature in the £40 million scheme, which will create a link between South Bridge and the Cowgate.

Developer Whiteburn Projects today also announced a deal with Hoxton Urban Lodge to run the “funky budget boutique” hotel – the first foray outside London for the firm led by Pret a Manger co-founder Sinclair Beecham.

plans for any housing, but the scheme – dubbed SoCo – also includes a shop, a main restaurant and bar, a cafe, a business centre, a new home for the former La Belle Angele nightclub, an extension to the Chambers Street jazz cellar, and two new pends and courtyards. Around 200 jobs would be created on the site, plus another 100 during the construction

SoCo: Dramatic New Dome Planned for Fire-Hit Cowgate Site in Edinburgh
The owner of the Old Town site devastated by a massive blaze today unveiled a new image of the proposed building.

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SoCo buildings image from Weber Shandwick 2006

SoCo : Further details

Old Town Fire Competition: Edinburgh Fire

SoCo Design Team
Developer: Whiteburn Projects
Architect: Allan Murray Architects
Agent: Storeys:ssp
Structural Engineers: Will Rudd Davidson
Services Engineers: Whitby Bird
Cost Consultants: CBA
Lawyers: Brodies LLP

Key Whiteburn Project : The Tun
Winner of two British Council for Offices Awards in 2003

Old Town Fire Ideas Competition, Edinburgh

Cowgate Edinburgh : Housing

South Bridge Edinburgh

Allan Murray Architects : A1 Building

Cowgate Buildings

Comments / photos for the SoCo Edinburgh Buildings page welcome

SoCo Edinburgh : page