Press releases

Legal & General gets green light for £50m repurposing of Edinburgh’s former Debenhams store

Proposals for the £50m regeneration of the former Debenhams store on Princes Street, Edinburgh have received unanimous approval at a City of Edinburgh Council planning committee meeting

4 Jun 2021


Full press release

The proposals, which repurpose 108,000 sq ft of vacant, obsolete retail space, were described as ‘setting the tone’ for the future regeneration of Edinburgh city centre.

The redevelopment, spanning three separate listed properties at 109 to 112 Princes Street, creates a new hospitality hub and boutique hotel on the famous street. Plans include a 207-room upscale boutique hotel and publicly accessible restaurant, lounge, spa and rooftop bar. The proposals will create a new pedestrian link between Princes Street and Rose Street and new shopping, dining, hospitality, leisure and public event space. The rooftop bar will look directly on to Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle.

Legal & General is delivering some of the UK’s most strategically important regeneration schemes that are fast transforming and reshaping Britain’s landscape, bringing jobs and services back into the centre of cities and better utilising existing infrastructure. The company’s responsible investment strategy, long-term view and ability to own and operate trading assets, make it uniquely positioned to maximise the Princes Street development’s social, environmental and economic contribution.

The project has ambitions to be one of the most sustainable developments in the city by targeting BREEAM Excellent and a carbon reduction Gold standard.

The proposals also ensure the careful preservation of historically significant parts of the buildings, which have been past homes to both the city’s Conservative and Liberal Party Clubs, securing them for the future. The original properties were built in 1869 and the department store was developed in 1978.

The scheme’s planning consultant is Montagu Evans, the architect is ICA, project manager is Gardiner & Theobald and townscape and heritage advisor is Turley.

Construction work is expected to begin in 2022 with the new boutique hotel scheduled to open in 2024.

Bill Hughes, Head of Real Assets for Legal & General Investment Management: "The UK needs urban centres that are fit for purpose and support growth. We continue to work hard investing in centres and creatively repurposing real estate to ensure the vitality of urban areas that need to evolve. Our long- term view and operational strategy mean we can adapt and innovate the Princes Street site to harness the full potential of these historic buildings, ensure they support economic growth and bring the widest possible benefit to the city."
Nida Rehman, Senior Development Manager for Legal & General Investment Management: "We have worked collaboratively with the City of Edinburgh Council to understand their aspirations for the future of Princes Street and create a financially, environmentally and socially sustainable development. The scheme will provide an exceptional anchor for the community and deliver best-in-class local services to support the post Covid recovery."

Further information

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Jessye Brandon

PR Executive

LGIM Real Assets

T: 07584498775

Email Jessye Brandon

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with international businesses in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia. With almost £1.3 trillion in total assets under management*, we are the UK’s largest investment manager for corporate pension schemes and a UK market leader in pension risk transfer, alternative asset origination, life insurance, workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone.

* at 30 June 2021

Legal & General Capital (LGC) is Legal & General Group’s alternative asset platform, creating assets for Legal & General Retirement and third-party clients in order to achieve improved risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders.  LGC has built its capabilities in a range of alternative sectors, including in residential property; specialist commercial real estate; clean energy; alternative credit; and venture capital, which are all supported by long-term structural growth drivers, meet a financing gap and respond to a scarcity of supply that is underpinned by enduring societal needs.

Its purpose is to invest society’s capital for society’s benefit. Investing in the real economy and supporting the Group’s focus on climate and inclusive capitalism, LGC’s investments create jobs, change lives and contribute towards a net zero carbon future.

Legal & General has invested over £29bn in levelling-up regional economies, including through major UK-wide regeneration schemes and has recently made a commitment to enable all its new homes to operate at net zero carbon emissions from 2030.

(As of June 2021)