Edinburgh: Spa and bingo plans for revamped shopping centre

Planned new occupiers for the shopping centre that is to be partially demolished, rebuilt and revamped, range from a spa to a bingo hall.

Edinburgh Ocean Terminal’s bold decapitation of the sprawling anchor site of the former Debenhams, which is being razed along with a multi-storey car park, could help usher in a new era for retail behemoths that have so far struggled to modernise.

The £250 million reimagining of the Leith shopping centre includes the development of hundreds of new homes and “substantial public landscaped spaces” in plans put forward by its Scottish owners, Ambassador Group.

So far, there is also early-stage applications to strip out two units on the first floor “to create one single enlarged unit which will accommodate a PURE Spa unit” although it is understood the tenancies have not been completed.

There is also a similar application around creating a ground floor location for Club 3000 Bingo.

HeraldScotland: An impression of how the new shopping centre might lookAn impression of how the new shopping centre might look (Image: Ocean Terminal)

There are proposals, which are also early-stage applications, for the Edinburgh Remakery, Wed2Be, and House of Jack to be relocated in the centre.

Existing tenants include Vue Cinema, H&M, Boots, Nando’s and Pizza Express, employing more than 625 on-site

Other shopping centres of the era have sought to update their offering, with a rebuild of Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, which opened in 1991, planned, and a hotel development set to be added to shops at the Cameron Toll in Edinburgh.

Landsec, owner of Buchanan Galleries, said feedback for its £800 million plan showed a desire for world-class shopping but also a diverse mix of places to live, work and play.

Cameron Toll, which opened in 1984 as the Scottish capital’s first out-of-town shopping centre, wants to build a 159-bed hotel while “significant improvements are planned to how Cameron Toll integrates with the surrounding area”.


Any investment in new locations in Scotland must be very carefully assessed

It comes at a time of turbulence around real-term business rates relief in Scotland. 

One business owner who operates north and south of the Border said: “In broad terms we are very wary about taking new retail leases in Scotland.

“The lack of support on rates relief in 22/23 and 23/24 and on retail, leisure and hospitality grants during Covid in Scotland relative to England and Wales, as well as the threat of increases to the poundage rate in future years mean that any investment in new locations in Scotland must be very carefully assessed.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his Spring Budget this week but his picture of mastery was wide of the mark, business editor Ian McConnell said in his analysis.

“Anyone listening to Jeremy Hunt’s Budget speech today could easily have gone away with the impression the UK Government was single-handedly rescuing the country from its cost-of-living crisis, while somewhat miraculously fending off recession.

“His audience could certainly have been forgiven for thinking his Budget measures were going to be playing the key part in driving UK inflation down from eye-watering levels above 10 per cent. That is absolutely not the case,” he wrote.

Elsewhere, the owners of Crossbaskets Castle hotel in Blantyre announced what has been billed as the largest single investment in Scottish basketball history.

Steve Timoney, who founded Glasgow-based Smart Metering Systems, and wife Alison have major plans to invest £20 million in a new arena for the Caledonia Gladiators in East Kilbride, revealed deputy business editor Scott Wright.

Also this week, tributes were paid as the founder and chairman of specialist Glasgow pensions firm @SIPP Colin Barral died aged 64, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey reported.

Eddie McGuire, managing director of @SIPP, said Mr Barral was well-known for his infectious enthusiasm and his drive to create opportunities for others, “always trying to make a difference for people”.


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