Legal & General announces, on behalf of the L&G UK Property Fund, that it will invest over £50 million into a major regeneration project in Princes Street, Edinburgh. The proposals will create a new hotel and city centre ‘hub’ including shopping, dining, hospitality, leisure and event space at 109-112 Princes Street.
20 Jul 2020
Currently an under-utilised retail premises, Legal & General’s vision will transform 109-112 Princes Street, a building of significant architectural heritage and history in Edinburgh, into a vibrant destination, attracting both residents and tourists to make use of the new facilities. With unparalleled views directly onto Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle, Legal & General’s plans for Princes Street will create a major new destination in Edinburgh, delivering the footfall Princes Street needs to continue to thrive.
Legal & General has a significant track record in similar transformational urban regeneration projects and has invested billions of pounds into schemes across the UK, in cities such as Cardiff, Salford, Newcastle and Sunderland. Using its varied capital streams, Legal & General is committed to reshaping the urban landscape by recycling hard-earned UK savings and pensions into real assets which promote job creation and can support cities’ post-Covid economic bounce back.
The proposals for 109-112 Princes Street include 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, reflecting the energy, culture and history of Edinburgh, and operate utilising the best available local produce for the food and drink offer. In line with Legal & General’s wider ESG commitments, the scheme is targeting ‘BREEAM’ Excellent status and will look to maximise social value through local resourcing and employment throughout the development and operational phases.
Kammy Day, Deputy Leader at Edinburgh City Council: "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, rather than a public event due to Covid-19 restrictions. A planning application will follow the consultation. The opening of the development will depend on the timescale for any planning approval."
Matt Jarvis, Senior Fund Manager at Legal & General: "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 a 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."
Legal & General owns 109-112 Princes Street which is currently occupied by Debenhams. The store extends over three separate and listed properties, namely:
Princes Street has historically undergone major change and challenges in the past with the Lord Provost’s 1943
Commission on City Development bemoaning that the street was in the eyes of many, ‘Irremediable’, with its
‘Monotonous original and chaotic modern frontage’.
The council considered the development of the ‘Princes Street Galleries’ project in the late 90s before the proposal was withdrawn.
In 2007, the council’s ‘String of Pearls’ initiative bemoaned the fact that 60% of the upper floors in Princes Street lay empty at that time.
In 2011 the City Council considered proposals by Jan Gehl to create a more ‘pedestrian friendly future for the city centre including Princes Street where a ‘Café Culture’ was envisioned.
The Council is currently implementing its City Centre Transformation Project which is increasing the priority being given to walkers and cyclists.
Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.2 trillion in total assets under management* of which 39% is international. We have a unique and highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. Legal & General provides powerful asset origination and management capabilities directly to clients, which also underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions. We are a leading international player in Pension Risk Transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers and create value for our shareholders. Through inclusive capitalism, we are investing in long-term assets, such as real estate and infrastructure, that can help build a better society for the future.
*as at HY 2023
Legal & General Investment Management
LGIM is one of Europe’s largest asset managers and a major global investor, with total assets under management of £1.16 trillion1 ($1.47tn, €1.35tn, CHF 1.31tn). We work with a wide range of global clients, including pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds, fund distributors and retail investors.
For more than 50 years, we have built our business through understanding what matters most to our clients and transforming this insight into valuable, accessible investment products and solutions. We provide investment expertise across the full spectrum of asset classes including fixed income, equities, commercial property, and cash. Our capabilities range from index-tracking and active strategies to liquidity management and liability-based risk management solutions.
1 Data as at 30 June 2023. Data combines assets under management by LGIM in the UK, LGIMA in the US and LGIM Asia in Hong Kong.
Assets under management include securities and derivatives positions
*as at HY 2023