Transforming Edinburgh

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Written by Roma Publications

Work continues to make good progress on SoCo – a mixed use development in Edinburgh.

The £35 million development – seen as the largest city centre regeneration scheme in years – is being constructed in the Cowgate, an area of the city previously devastated by fire. Once work is complete, SoCo will include a hotel, a restaurant, a new festival venue and a business centre.

In addition to the new leisure facilities and public spaces that are being created within SoCo, the nightclub La Belle Angele will also be reinstated.

SoCo is situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town and World Heritage site, on the junction of South Bridge and Cowgate. The mixed use development has been designed to create inner courtyards with steps from the Cowgate to Chambers Street and to South Bridge, in order to reconnect the city.

Whiteburn is the developer on the SoCo project, whilst McAleer & Rushe is the main contractor. The design and planning consent for the project was completed by Ica Architects.

Work began on the project in summer 2012 after planning consent for the scheme was given the go ahead in January 2009. SoCo received overwhelming support from the City of Edinburgh Council planning committee, which is something that has helped see this project get underway.

Commenting on SoCo, Whiteburn Chief Executive, John Shepherd, 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.

“Whiteburn and the rest of our team have worked tirelessly to meet the City of Edinburgh Council’s planning brief for this site and we were pleased to have received such a positive, encouraging response from the planning committee.”

Once complete, SoCo will be a collection of buildings designed to remain in keeping with the contrasting urban grains of Chambers Street, South Bridge and the Cowgate, complemented by a network of closes and vennels. Courts, terraces and entrance spaces at different levels, with different uses will also bring vibrancy to the area.

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