New music venue proposed as part of Leith development

An artist’s render of the Stead’s Place exterior

A new music venue has been proposed for Edinburgh’s Leith Walk.

The venue is part of a Revised Planning Proposal for the £50 million redevelopment of Stead’s Place, following extensive consultation with the local community. Plans also include a row of independent retail, restaurant and entrainment units facing onto Leith Walk.

Developer Drum Property Group is responding to feedback from the local community, with many surveyed feeling the new development should maintain the area’s “distinctive cultural feel and identity” as well as retaining an independent music venue for Leith.

Drum said the new row of units would be enclosed in a red sandstone façade, which reflects the design and shape of the existing Leith Walk frontage. The developer is hoping that many of the small independent traders currently based there will relocate to the new development upon completion.

The parade’s existing music venue, Leith Depot, will close at the end of its lease in 2019. The new venue will be purpose-built to encourage live performances and provide display space for a range of other creative arts and exhibitions, according to Drum.

Fife Hyland, communications director at Drum, commented, “We have listened to the comments of those members of the community who have participated in our consultation events and we understand the importance of maintaining a distinctive and independent feel for this important stretch of Leith Walk. We will continue to evolve our proposals for a bold, modern development for a confident and diverse Leith.

“The existing buildings at Stead’s Place are no longer an economically viable investment for us and we propose to invest £50 million in a new mixed-use development when all of the existing tenants move out and the site is completely vacant by 2019.

“We are now having positive discussions with many of the current traders with a view to encouraging them to the new development on completion – offering favourable rents, in line with current levels, and significantly lower than market value.”

He added, “We want this development to be a blueprint for introducing modern contemporary design on to the high street without sacrificing the individuality and vibrancy that makes Leith unique. We feel our revised proposals, incorporating sympathetic design with an eclectic mix of tenants and a stand-out live music venue, will continue the rich tradition of diversity, independence and interest which makes Leith Walk such an exciting destination in which to live, work and visit.”

Drum is to submit a detailed planning proposal to City of Edinburgh Council for the redevelopment of surrounding site which, as well as the Leith Walk shop frontage, includes an industrial estate that sites directly behind it. Development proposals also include replacement of the existing shop units, affordable housing and post-graduate student residences. It is also to include a hotel with bar and restaurant.