CALA Evans Restoration Limited has reached agreement with City & Country to jointly develop the Donaldson’s College site in Edinburgh.
The William Playfair designed Donaldson’s College building will be restored by City & Country, the leading expert in the sensitive restoration of historic and listed buildings, while CALA Evans Restoration Limited will retain the north part of the site to construct new build apartments.
Both CALA Evans and City & Country develop premium residential properties and have long track records in the industry. This collaboration uses the specialist skill set of each company to ensure that the homes created within this unique setting will be of the highest quality that the site deserves and that future purchasers will expect.
Donaldson’s College was completed in 1850 and is one of the city’s best known landmarks with its green domed turrets. The Playfair building itself forms a quadrangle around an internal courtyard and is surrounded by parkland.
David McGrath, Regional Director of CALA Homes (East), said: “This is one of the most important buildings in Scotland and one of the most prominent in Edinburgh. We are delighted to have reached agreement with a heritage developer of the calibre of City & Country to jointly develop the site.
“For our part we understand the responsibility which comes with redeveloping such a culturally and historically important landmark. That is why we have been so patient in getting to this point to ensure the best possible future for the site.
“We are now very much looking forward to working in partnership with City & Country to draw up a new planning application which we hope will restore the building, revive the site and rejuvenate the wider area.”
There has been a planning permission for residential redevelopment of the site since 2007 which has been subject to subsequent amendments.
CALA Evans and City & Country will consult extensively with the local community and with heritage groups in drawing up a new planning application which will be submitted to Edinburgh Council in early 2015.
Helen Moore, Managing Director at City & Country, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the Playfair Building at Donaldson’s College, a truly inspiring building of immense history and character and our first development in Scotland.
“We are confident that our expertise and strong track record of delivering high quality and sensitive restorations of some of Britain’s most iconic and treasured buildings will enable us to both preserve and bring Donaldson’s back into beneficial use.
“Our aim is to create a restoration of which the local community, Edinburgh and indeed Scotland can be proud. We do not underestimate the challenges ahead, but we firmly believe that we have the best and most talented team available to deliver a successful outcome.”
Ben Brough of Savills, told how the sale of Donaldson’s College attracted significant national and international interest and was considered for a variety of uses.
He added: “CALA Evans and City & Country now have a once in a life time opportunity to develop this impressive property into one of the most desirable residential addresses in Scotland, if not the UK.
“There is great appetite for high end homes like this in the very best locations and it has the potential to set new value benchmarks within the Scottish market.”
Donaldson’s College, formerly Donaldson’s Hospital, was named after its benefactor, James Donaldson, who bequeathed his property to build and found a hospital for children.
The impressive architecture is the work of William Henry Playfair, who is well known for his other commissions such as the National Monument (1824-1829) and the National Gallery of Scotland (1850-1857), and he is recognised as one of Scotland’s great visionary architects.
Queen Victoria is said to have been envious of Playfair’s outstanding building, because she believed it outclassed some of her own palaces.
Initially the building was an orphan hospital before becoming a specialist school for deaf children. The school retained use of the building until purpose-built new campus opened in Linlithgow in January 2008.
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