123 High Street, due to be completed by late summer, has been described as the “most challenging undertaking, logistically and legally” by those involved.
One of the initial tasks was a worldwide search, as far away as Australia and the US, to trace the former owners, or descendants of those who had owned the flats, who still had legal ownership of their portion of the “air space” above the roof, and buy it from them.
This is a very unusual project and the last remaining gap site in the Royal Mile...David McGinigal, Director, Colorado Construction
The site has an illustrious history and originally featured a prestigious townhouse tenement owned by John Spottiswood, the Bishop of St Andrews who went to become Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop of St Andrews and Church Moderator before being forced to flee Edinburgh in 1637 after riots against his supporth for imposing the King’s Book of Common Prayer in Scotland.
Due to the restrictions in the street the team had to resort to some building methods which would have been used when many of the original tenements were being built.
David McGinigal said, “We were working with the unknown – you don’t know what you’re going to find with traditional Edinburgh buildings..."