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Quartermile


(Old Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh)

A prestigious mixed-use development located between Lauriston Place and The Meadows on the South Side of Edinburgh, the Quartermile occupies the 7.7-ha (19-acre) site of the former Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which closed in 2003. The redevelopment was built to a masterplan by London-based architects Foster & Partners, with individual designs by local practitioners including Comprehensive Design Architects, Richard Murphy and Hurd Rolland. Its twenty-nine new and historic buildings comprise 1050 homes and serviced apartments, 34,374 sq. m (370,000 sq. feet) of new office accommodation, 6038 sq. m (65,000 sq. feet) of retail and leisure space, including an hotel, bar, bistros and small supermarket, together with 2.8 ha (7 acres) of open landscaping. Begun in 2005, the phased development is expected to be completed in 2018, with construction having paused during the property crash of 2008-12. The homes include affordable housing and luxury flats, with concierge service and underground parking. The office accommodation is divided into four blocks, with early tenants including flight search business Skyscanner, semiconductor designer Cirrus Logic, sports entertainment company FanDuel, health, wealth and talent managers Mercer, Investec Wealth and Investment, computer giant IBM, law firms Morton Fraser and Maclay, Murray & Spens, and the Scotch Whisky Association.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was established on Infirmary Street, a half-mile (1 km) northeast, in 1729. It moved to this site in 1879, occupying grand purpose-designed buildings by architect David Bryce and built at the enormous cost of £340,000, raised from numerous of benefactors. The facility comprised the Surgical Hospital on Lauriston Place with the Medical Hospital behind, connected by a long corridor intended to isolate the two and prevent the spread of disease. Over the years numerous extensions and ancillary buildings were added. Most of the work is in Hailes sandstone but the Victoria Diamond Jubilee Pavilion by Sidney Mitchell (1897) is in contrasting red sandstone from Corncockle and Corsehill. This Jubilee Pavilion was opened by HRH Princess Henry of Battenberg in 1900 and is now B-listed. While the poorer extensions were demolished during the Quartermile redevelopment, the more substantial Medical pavilions overlooking The Meadows to the rear were renovated to form flats, with new build interspersed.

Two new streets were created as part of the development: Nightingale Way, in honour of Florence Nightingale who promoted the pavilion-style of hospital adopted here, and Simpson Loan, in honour of Sir James Young Simpson, obstetrician and pioneer of anaesthetics. Although both now demolished, there had been a Florence Nightingale Nurses Home on the site (built 1935) and the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion (opened 1879, moving to a new building on the site in 1939), which was the birthplace of generations of Edinburghers.

The site was sold by Lothian University Hospitals Trust in 2001 to Southside Capital (a joint venture between Bank of Scotland, Taylor Woodrow and the Kilmartin Property Group) for around £35 million. Taylor Woodrow sold their stake in 2005, while the Kilmartin Property Group went into administration in 2010. The development was sold by the Lloyds Banking Group to property investor Moorfield in 2013. The Old Surgical Hospital building was bought by the University of Edinburgh in 2015. The total value of the development is said to be around £500 million.


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