Legal & General unveils £50m hotel and ‘hub’ plans for Princes Street Debenhams store



A new hotel with a rooftop bar and city centre ‘hub’ with space for local businesses is planned as part of a proposed redevelopment and refurbishment of the Debenhams store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

Currently an under-utilised retail premises, Legal & General’s vision will transform 109-112 Princes Street into a “vibrant destination” including shopping, dining, hospitality, leisure and event space.

Legal & General, on behalf of the L&G UK Property Fund, is to invest over £50 million in the project. 

A Proposal of Application Notice from ICA Architects lodged to the City of Edinburgh Council this week includes plans for a sky bar, basement spa, ‘fine casual’ dining and a new shopping close, linking through to Rose Street; all open to the public. It is envisaged that the plans will help realise the council’s long-held ambitions to create a café culture in Edinburgh’s most famous street. The Upper Upscale Hotel will have its own independent identity.

In line with Legal & General’s wider ESG commitments, the development is targeting ‘BREEAM’ Excellent status and will look to maximise social value through local resourcing and employment throughout the development and operational phases.

Matt Jarvis, senior fund manager at Legal & General, said: “As normality begins to return around the world, it has never been more important that we support the UK’s cities in continuing to adapt, change and innovate; supporting their economic recovery and continuing to promote them as attractive places to live, work and visit. Our vision for Princes Street will do just that, whilst securing these important buildings as a vibrant hub in the centre of one of the world’s great cities.

“With some of the best views anywhere, looking directly on to Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle, our aim is to create a space which all Edinburgh and Scottish residents can enjoy, whilst continuing to attract quality tourism to the city. For the L&G UK Property Fund, this represents an exceptional opportunity, in line with its strategy to diversify into more operational and alternative assets, and offering a platform to drive forward value for investors.”

Cammy Day, deputy leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, added: “Legal & General’s project promises to inject a huge amount of investment in our City and create brand new jobs at a time when we need it most. In many parts of the world, development is stalling as a result of the pandemic. That’s not the case in Edinburgh.

“It’s clear that companies remain confident in the enduring appeal of Scotland’s capital as an attractive place to invest and this news should be viewed as a real confidence boost in our economy. Subject to planning, it will convert a prime site with stunning views and help to support the city’s wider recovery from Covid-19 - something all of us will benefit from.”

Pre-application consultation proposals will be submitted before the end of the month, with an online public consultation taking place ahead of a detailed planning application.

The opening of the development will depend on the timescale for any planning approval.



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