Edinburgh’s hidden gems unlocking business growth


AN Edinburgh-based construction company, which has grown from a start-up in 2010 to a seven- figure turnover business, is citing the city’s heritage buildings as a key reason for its success.

Blackhall Developments recently completed the delivery of CODE, a five-storey 30-bed boutique youth hostel on Rose Street Lane, in the heart of the Capital’s New Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The £400,000 project sits directly behind the Standing Order pub on Edinburgh’s fashionable George Street.

The red brick building, dating back to the 19th century, was previously a warehouse and had been lying derelict for 20-years prior to the developer, Dundee-based DS Landsburgh, having the vision to take it on.

“Our brief was to provide a complete re-model from top to bottom, including removing the roof and creating a new top floor with roof terrace,” explained Blackhall’s owner and managing director, Ross Young.

“Our client managed to acquire an extra piece of land which was crucial to making the project viable. We were able to form a new entrance foyer, construct a new internal staircase and retain a rustic and industrial look.”

Residents will pay around £30 a night to sleep in dorms with sophisticated pods stacked side-by-side, two units high with steps leading to second level rooms.

The completion comes hot on the heels after a six-month project as main contractor on North Bridge Lofts, a development of ten holiday and business let apartments in the grade-A listed Scotsman Buildings, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Mr Young said that thanks to the city’s rich history and mix of architecture there are hidden gems which developers and contractors alike can explore to create exciting new spaces.

“Blackhall has become something of a specialist at working with buildings which have tremendous character and heritage to them. Both of our most recent projects have been extremely challenging because with buildings of that age you never quite know what you are going to be dealing with.

“We found ourselves applying many of the same techniques on the project at Rose Street Lane as we did up at North Bridge.

“On both occasions we had to be mindful of where we were building. Not only did we have to consider the heritage of the properties themselves, but also the importance of conservation.”