Ocean Terminal proposal reveals “transformational redevelopment” to create new gateway to waterfront

Ocean Terminal Site Diagram

OCEAN Terminal has submitted a pre-application notice with the City of Edinburgh Council for a transformational redevelopment that will see the 20-year-old centre open up to the waterfront. The vision is to create a destination that reflects the needs and aspirations of the people who live and work in Leith.

Having purchased the shopping centre in March 2020 because of its significant potential, Scottish owners, Ambassador Group, have used insights gained over the past eighteen months to advance plans to turn Ocean Terminal into a gateway to the waterfront for the local community, adding to the wider regeneration of Leith.

The new masterplan for the site includes a new mixed-use space that maximises the location and aspect on to the Firth of Forth, created at a new linked entrance to the centre. Reflecting the change in people’s priorities post-pandemic, the proposal promises a mix of indoor and outdoor space achieved by the demolition of the existing north multistorey car park and the former Debenhams store to allow the remaining building to be reconfigured with updated spaces for new commercial opportunities facing a dramatic streetscape to the waterfront.

There will be a consolidation of Ocean Terminal’s recent shift in strategy to attract and retain tenants that are aligned to local and national policy objectives supporting ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’. Complementing the continuing regeneration of Leith which has seen new homes, schools and businesses emerge, the proposals support local jobs while also cementing Leith’s distinct appeal as a popular choice for visitors to the Capital.

The final stage of the masterplan is to introduce a mix of much-needed housing on the waterfront, integrating with the trams to Newhaven extension and new local amenities, to add to the vibrancy of the local community and the sustainability of the local economy.

Following the submission of the Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) today (18th August, 2021), Ocean Terminal will now conduct public consultation beginning with an online exhibition set to go live on 23rd September. A full planning application is expected in early 2022, with a view to start works later that year.

The redevelopment represents an investment of more than £100 million.

Chris Richardson is the managing director for Ambassador Investments, which is responsible for developing a range of residential properties and commercial buildings across Scotland, all of which have industry leading environmental credentials. He said:

“We’re planning a transformational redevelopment that will finally realise Ocean Terminal’s potential as a leading waterfront destination, whilst placing the changing priorities of residents, businesses, visitors and shoppers centre stage. The retail industry and the local environment has evolved significantly in recent years and this redevelopment will create a sustainable destination that people will continue to enjoy for years to come.

“This is an exciting time for Ocean Terminal, and we look forward to sharing that vision as we move forward.”

Ambassador Group has a vision for Ocean Terminal which has been advanced and adapted over the course of the pandemic. Having seen how local people want to interact with the centre and the need for public space, it is clear that Ocean Terminal is an important part of Leith and the area’s regeneration story. 

The firm’s vision is for a sustainable place for shopping, relaxing, working and living that will make the most of the centre’s unique waterfront location and fully embraces new environmental standards. Throughout, there is a commitment to climate change mitigation and the promotion of sustainability, in line with Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Government net zero targets, through the use of energy efficient materials and low carbon energy generation.

Having already spoken with many of those with an interest in the success of Ocean Terminal, the early feedback has been very positive. The proposed redevelopment will happen carefully in distinct phases to ensure a smooth realisation of the vision. That includes a focus on continuity and consistency for existing tenants and other users of Ocean Terminal, while plans are put in place.

Ambassador Group has appointed the following advisers on the project: planning consultants, Turley, building surveyors, PMP, and architects, Keppie Design.

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