Waverley Gate

(General Post Office)

Waverley Gate is a prestigious office complex occupying the shell of the former General Post Office building on the prominent corner of Waterloo Place and North Bridge in the heart of Edinburgh. Retaining only the A-listed Italian Renaissance facade, the building was rebuilt from within between 2002-05 to provide 19,061 sq. m (205,170 sq. feet) of modern open-plan interior arranged over eight floors, above and below street level, with extensive roof gardens on three levels that provide panoramic views to Calton Hill, Arthur's Seat, the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. It has a bright central atrium, which maximises natural light into the office accommodation, and also provides pleasant communal seating areas and a café. The building occupies a steeply sloping site, which descends from Waterloo Place to Waverley Station, where the post was once loaded directly onto mail-trains and sorted on-board for delivery elsewhere in the UK.

Originally the work of Robert Matheson, 1861-66, the building occupied the site of the former Theatre Royal (opened 1768, closed 1859). The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert. It was extended to the west by W. W. Robertson (1891-92) and W. T. Oldrieve (1907-10). Constructed in sandstone ashlar, the style changes with each level; the ground floor is rusticated, balustraded parapets on the first and second floors, but columns of the first versus pilasters on the second, and varying window styles. The building rises to its uppermost storey at corner towers, topped by a balustrade and large urns.

The main entrance from Waterloo Place passes through an impressive triple-height entrance hall to a modern reception area, while a secondary entrance from Calton Road, lies three floors below, next to a dedicated car park offering 51 spaces. In 2015, tenants included Amazon, the British Council Scotland, Creative Scotland, Microsoft, Museums Galleries Scotland, a call centre for Swedish retailer H&M, and the administrative offices of NHS Lothian, which moved here from Deaconess House. The redevelopment cost £100 million, but the building lay almost empty because of the high rents - some of the most expensive in the city - causing the bankruptcy of developer Castlemore Securities. Waverley Gate was sold for only £35 million in 2009. Following a refurbishment, the building was offered for sale for £50 million in 2012.

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