Located within the redeveloped dockland area of North Leith, the Victoria Quay building represents a grand scheme, built as an extension of the old Scottish Office. It replaced New St. Andrews House, which was part of the St. James Centre complex at the top of Leith Walk. The building became part of the Scottish Government (until 2007 known as the Scottish Executive) following the devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. It is now the largest single office of the Government, home to several departments and functions, including policy, development, education, environment, transport and planning.
Work commenced on the building in 1993 and it was opened on the 1st July 1996 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The principal architects were the Edinburgh practice of Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and Partners. The resulting building comprises some 35,000 sq. metres (377,000 sq. feet) of accommodation on four floors and is 250m (820 feet) in length. A staff of 1600 work within the building.
Begun in 1847 and opened in 1851, the original Victoria Quay represented a major enlargement of the Port of Leith. Cargo sheds were developed towards the end of the 19th Century, which have now been redeveloped into gentrified housing, shops and restaurants.