Construction News , Edinburgh 8 July 2021

Work starts on mixed-use development at former Edinburgh Children’s Hospital site

By Sophie Anderson

Work to create a stunning new mixed-use development at the former Royal Hospital for Sick Children is now underway.

The 4.01-acre site, which NHS Lothian handed over to developer Downing earlier this month, will be sensitively transformed into a five-storey, 323 bedroom selection of studio and shared student accommodation, 95 private residential properties, and affordable housing.

The outside of the property will form two beautiful public spaces, one connecting the north and south sides of the building and the other acting as a public garden positioned at the front of the hospital building.

The landmark site includes a range of listed properties, which will be protected and worked into new plans, including the Phoebe Anna Traquair murals featured at the Mortuary Chapel.

The main hospital building, with its distinctive red sandstone, has been designed to be the centrepiece of the scheme. It is due to be completely reconfigured as 43 luxurious one, two, three and four bedroom apartments, duplexes and penthouses, which are set to offer some of the city’s finest apartments. The units will boast views either across The Meadows to Edinburgh Castle, towards Arthur’s Seat or South towards the Pentlands.

Sat within the Marchmont, Meadows and Bruntsfield conservation area of Edinburgh, the site is approximately 1 mile south of Princes Street and on the edge of the city centre. It is situated immediately opposite 63 acre public park The Meadows, while The University of Edinburgh’s central campus is just 500m away.

Ian Harrison, projects director at Downing, said, “We are looking forward to beginning works to the former Royal Hospital for Sick Children and associated buildings, ensuring the preservation of the site’s incredible architectural features whilst providing an inspiring space for residents and the surrounding community.

“The sensitive redevelopment of the hospital facility will not only represent an exciting new chapter in the building’s history, but Downing’s commitment to providing first-class residential and student accommodation will help to continue the legacy of what has been an important part of the city for generations to come.”

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children was designed by eminent Edinburgh architect George Washington Browne and opened in 1895. From then the hospital expanded and led the way in many aspects of paediatric medicine.

Allister Short, Service Director, Women’s and Children’s Services, NHS Lothian said: “The Royal Hospital for Sick Children played an incredible role in supporting the health and wellbeing of children and young people across Lothian for over 125 years, and the building will always hold many memories for patients, families and staff.

“Our services are now settled into their incredible new home at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, but we will always look back on the colourful and remarkable history of our former building with fondness.”

Patients and staff from the hospital moved to their new location in the new £150m Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Little France in March 2021.

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