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‘Ribbon’ Hotel OK’d Amid Controversy

Thursday, August 13, 2015

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Bucking the recommendation of its own planning commission, the City of Edinburgh has approved a development that has become known as the “ribbon” hotel.

Edinburgh (U.K.) City Council approved Wednesday (Aug. 12) planning permission for The Central Hotel, part of the £850 million (US$1.32 billion) St James Development, according to the several news sources.

Developer TH Real Estate, which has its corporate offices in London, told the Daily Record and Sunday News that getting the green light for the hotel means the “planning jigsaw” of the development is now complete.

“The building will be the centerpiece of Edinburgh St James and will reinforce the city’s position as an international destination,” said Martin Perry, TH Real Estate’s director of development.

Photo renditions: TH Real Estate

Edinburgh City Council approved Wednesday (Aug. 12) planning permission for The Central Hotel, part of the £850 million (US$1.32 billion) St James Development.

“The hotel’s iconic design has already generated interest from global hotel operators and today’s decision to approve our proposals takes us one step closer to starting work on-site next year and to delivering the development.”

Planning Officials Disapprove

But not everyone agrees that the design is a win for Edinburgh. Earlier this month, the city’s planning officials said the luxury hotel would have “an adverse impact on the surrounding listed buildings and harm Edinburgh’s status as a World Heritage site,” according to the Edinburgh Evening News.

Marion Williams, director of a conservation group called the Cockburn Association, had told the Evening News: “I’m delighted the officers agree with our view, but it will be interesting to see if the councilors agree with their officers—which they failed to do when it came to the sandstone issue.”

In July, the city allowed the development to go ahead with limestone cladding instead of traditional New Town sandstone, the Evening News reported. The planning commission also had recommended the city not approve the developer’s plans in that case.

Among the reasons the planning commission recommended against approval was a change in design plans. The 12-story, 210-room hotel is wider and taller than it originally was supposed to be. That includes a spiral that will rise into the sky almost 20 meters (65 feet) higher than originally thought.

The Evening News reported officials as saying the building would “damage” the skyline by blocking key views throughout the city.

Bundle of ‘Coiled Ribbons’

Nevertheless, the city has given the green light for what the developers on their website have called “a bundle of ‘coiled ribbons’, creating a free-flowing and bold building which will complement the development’s elegantly understated masterplan.”

Those “ribbons”—which will be made from bronze-colored stainless steel—also have drawn criticism from planners who think the building will be “too shiny and reflective.”

When completed, the developer has said it hopes the hotel will draw a five-star hotel operator. Plans include a lofty bar, lounge and restaurant space that will have 360-degree views of the city.

When completed, the developer has said it hopes the hotel will draw a five-star hotel operator. Plans include a lofty bar, lounge and restaurant space that will have 360-degree views of the city. The rest of the design and layout will be determined by the hotel’s operator.

The 41,000-square-foot building is designed by architects and interior designers Jestico + Whiles, which the Evening News says has designed a number of high-profile hotels in the past and has an “award-winning” reputation. The firms portfolio includes London’s One Aldwych.

Edinburgh St James will have 750,000 square feet of retail space, according to TH Real Estate. Development is to begin this year and wrap up in 2020. When finished, the center will include a multi-screen cinema and more than 30 dining destinations.

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Commercial Construction; Construction; Hotels; Modernist architecture; Restaurants

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/13/2015, 8:24 AM)

Neat looking design.


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