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Council to sell off some of the EDI's best assets in order to cover £33 million budget deficit

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July 1 2006

The City of Edinburgh Council is to sell one of the EDI’s most important assets, the Haymarket site, to raise funds to cover the budget shortfall generated by staff equal opportunities claims. The council was suffering from a £33 million shortfall, after having underpaid its female workers, and has decided to use its property portfolio to solve its financial difficulties.

The Haymarket site, a former railways goods yard, is to be sold in June for an estimated £23 million. The site has detailed approval for a large mixed-use development and outline approval to complete the scheme. The Haymarket site was the subject of a public inquiry and years of development and design work by the EDI and by the design team, Reiach and Hall, Page and Park, and Allan Murray Architects.

Jones Lang LaSalle is marketing the site and there have already been expressions of interest reported from a number of high-profile developers including the Miller Group. The council also considered selling Edinburgh Park, but decided against a sale due to the weakness of the commercial property market.

The sale may limit the EDI’s future acquisitions. The council has also sold land at Jeffrey Street to Mountgrange developers. The EDI had drawn up proposals to create a new built environment centre on the Jeffrey Street site, which could have become home to the RIAS and A+DS. Critics of the council have suggested that it is jeopardising its capacity to influence the long-term development of the city. One MSP warned the council against “selling off the family silver”.

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