Waverley Arches spring into life

Published: 11 January 2016

Edinburgh’s revamped Waverley Arches have sprung into life with the arrival their first businesses. We spoke to Charlotte Swanson, Area Asset Manager (Scotland) of developer Artisan Real Estate Investors…

What are the Waverley Arches? What’s unique about them?

The Waverley Arches are a row of 19 newly renovated Victorian arches on East Market Street, Edinburgh – part of the £150 million New Waverley development which is transforming the heart of the Old Town.

By the end of the year, we will be well on the way to completing a diverse, vibrant and well-connected brand new destination for Edinburgh – and the whole of the UK.

Charlotte Swanson, Area Asset Manager (Scotland), Artisan Real Estate Investors


It’s a unique opportunity to provide something completely different for the city, with the arches accommodating some of the most exciting new independent operators to be found anywhere in the UK. We are effectively creating a brand new retail and leisure quarter for the city, brilliantly located between Waverley Station and the Royal Mile, which will become a ‘place-to-be-seen’ flagship destination and highly visual signpost for the whole New Waverley development.    

What has the construction process involved? What are the key features of the spaces that have been created?

The Waverley Arches are part of the £150 million New Waverley development.

Originally the C-listed brickwork arches were intended to be one of a series of double-fronted ‘bridge streets’ to take the pressure off the overcrowded Royal Mile. And because of the original vaulted bridge design, each one of the 19 arches gradually rises in height, with 15 being tall enough for public use - and most offering dramatic double-height arched ceilings.

The largest flagship arch, on the corner of East Market Street opposite the Council’s HQ, will be designed over three levels and will be crowned with a dramatic rooftop terrace providing sweeping views over the Waverley Valley.

The project is being delivered by Staran Architects and Union Projects.

What kind of businesses do you hope to attract?

The unique design and location of the Arches has meant that we have had no shortage of tenant interest, and most of them will be occupied over the next few months. 

The one thing that brings all our tenants together is the desire to open somewhere completely different from the typical high street or shopping centre.  Our tenants will primarily be independent, edgy and ground-breaking in their operations – whether it’s cutting edge retail and leisure venues, or unique cafes and restaurants.

We have two tenants in already.  Uncover Lab is a brilliant new design concept that uses advanced laser technology to imprint 3D designs on any object you own.  And 6 Yard Box is an ultra-trendy store selling high-quality designer fashion and memorabilia inspired by all things football.

We’ll have many more opening in the next few months. And coming soon will be, amongst others, Tempo Tea Bar, jewellery designer Miss Katie Cupcake and Mudo Photography Gallery.   

How important is Waverley Arches to the wider New Waverley project? What stage is this at and how will it transform the whole area?

The £150 million New Waverley development is transforming the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.

The launch of the Arches comes at a critical time for the New Waverley development.  2016 is going to be a very exciting year! Already, work has far progressed on the construction of two new hotels along the street from the Arches - a Whitbread Premier Inn and Hub by Premier Inn which will open in February 2016.

In March, phase 2 construction is set to begin, including 160,000 sq. ft. of prime Grade A office space and 148 high quality residential apartments. Then in October, the 146-bed Adagio aparthotel on the Royal Mile will be completed, with ground floor retail and restaurant units surrounding a brand new the £2 million public square.

By the end of the year, we will be well on the way to completing a diverse, vibrant and well-connected brand new destination for Edinburgh – and the whole of the UK.   


If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.

T: +44(0) 131 529 6600 E: invest@edinburgh.gov.uk



Get in touch

Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council

E: invest@edinburgh.gov.uk

Latest tweets

follow us @InvestEdinburgh