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Hotel group plans £20m complex

A MAJOR Canadian hotel group plans to open a £20 million complex in Edinburgh the latest in a string of companies to target the city in the past two years.

Future Inns, which was set up in Novia Scotia in 1989, plans to open its first Scottish venture within two years. The 150- bedroom, four-star hotel will create about 70 jobs.

The company has ventures in Cardiff and Plymouth, with another being built in Bristol.

Agents have been charged with finding a flagship site in the capital as soon as possible, with key contenders believed to be the waterfront at Leith and a site near Edinburgh Airport.

Tourism experts believe Edinburgh will need another 4,000 hotel rooms by 2015 to cope with expected growth in the industry. A number of schemes are under construction, with a string of ventures in the planning stages.

Under construction is a Missoni hotel on George IV Bridge, a Hotel du Vin in Forrest Road and an apart-hotel for the Singapore-based Ascott Group on the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Plans have been submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council for a five-star hotel to be built as part of the Caltongate development on the Royal Mile and two hotels are planned at a former goods yard at Haymarket.

Another is expected to be created at SoCo, the development planned for the gap site created by the Old Town fire in the Cowgate five years ago. In the last few months alone it has emerged that a Rezidor hotel is earmarked for a gap site in Leith Walk, while Vladimir Romanov, the Lithuanian-based tycoon who owns Heart of Midlothian FC, has unveiled plans to convert the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters building in St Andrew Square into a hotel.

A new hotel is planned for the site of the St James Centre, where a large-scale redevelopment will be happening over the next five years.

Graham Stockman, the UK property director of Future Inns, said: "We're confident it would be an attractive proposition for the wide range of travellers who visit Edinburgh, due to its strong commercial base and vibrant tourism sector."

Chris Dougray, a director with the property agent DTZ, which is working on behalf of Future Inns: "Given the progress Future Inns are making south of the Border, they feel the time is right to expand their operation to a city which is struggling to meet demand at the moment."

Ben Carter, VisitScotland's area director for Edinburgh and Lothians, said: "It is encouraging to see continued investment in the city's hotel sector."


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