Page last updated at 02:28 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

'New life' for capital's landmark

Royal High School building and Calton hill
The building has been largely unused since the Royal High School relocated

An A-listed building in Edinburgh is to be brought back into public use for the first time in almost 40 years, under plans announced by the city council.

The former Royal High School building on Calton Hill is to undergo a £35m redevelopment into an "arts hotel" which will have public gallery space.

The council awarded the project to Duddingston House Properties, which will now submit designs.

The council will still own the revamped building, but will lease it out.

The imposing structure, which was once mooted as a possible base for the Scottish Parliament, has stood on the south face of Calton Hill since 1829.

It has remained under-used since the Royal High School relocated to larger, more modern premises.

'Hotel capacity'

Edinburgh City Council leader Jenny Dawe described the development as "hugely exciting" and said it would form an integral part of a wider project to bring "new life" to the city centre.

"I very much look forward to seeing the proposed designs, which will allow this wonderful building to be brought respectfully into the 21st Century," she added.

"Arts hotels have proved themselves to be extremely popular in major cities around the world and this development will bring much-needed additional hotel capacity to the city while complementing Edinburgh's unique cultural offering."

The council decided to find a business solution for the site in May last year.

It prompted interest from more than 50 companies, which was gradually whittled down to Duddingston House Properties.

But under European regulations, there will have to be a 10-day "standstill" period between the council notifying its intention to award the contract and the actual awarding of the contract.

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