The Red Sandstone building opens onto Leith Walk, Edinburgh

Fife Hyland (L) with Cllr Cammy Day (R)

The renaissance of Leith Walk in Edinburgh is set to continue with the official launch of Drum Property Group’s ‘Red Sandstone’ building – now home to a range of exciting range of new shops, cafes and businesses. City of Edinburgh Council Leader, Cammy Day, formally opened the distinctive two-storey Scottish Art Deco building following a major refurbishment project. Known simply as The Red Sandstone, the building extends from 106 to 154 Leith Walk and provides a range of open-plan first floor business suites housed above a row of shops, cafes, restaurants and a popular bar and arts venue.

The opening of the building is set to capitalise on the renewed interest in Leith Walk following the launch of the new tramline connecting Edinburgh city centre with the port of Leith and Newhaven. All 10 of the street-level retail units have now been fully let, with more than two-thirds of the first-floor office suites occupied by a range of small to medium sized independent businesses. The building’s tenants include Hobz Bakery, Cornelius Wines, Middle Eastern street food restaurant Sharawama, vintage clothing store Rhinestone Cowboys, Chorrito Sauce Company, pizzeria San Ciro’s and Zoomo, the E-bike sales and hire service. They join Leith Depot, an established bar, restaurant and music venue which has been based at the location since 2015 and has now signed a new lease expanding the venue and extending its stay at the retail parade.

The Red Sandstone now forms a spectacular gateway to Drum’s £50 million transformation of the 2.9-acre Stead’s Place site, which will bring 148 new homes to the rear of the development linking Leith Walk to Pilrig Park when complete next year. Welcoming the opening of The Red Sandstone, Council Leader Cammy Day said: “With the tram service up and running, the regeneration of this section of Leith Walk couldn’t come at a better time. Drum was able to work closely with the community to revise their plans while creating this scheme and the result is a thriving and creative space. The existing occupiers and new units are clearly receiving lots of footfall already, which is great to see.”

Fife Hyland, Drum’s Operation Director added: “After a long period of community consultation and refurbishment, it’s testament to the revival of Leith Walk that the Red Sandstone building is now fully operational and buzzing with activity. With the tram now open and Leith Walk coming back to its bustling best, the building is set to fulfil its potential as a distinctive focal point and destination for the area.

“We have been hugely encouraged with the high levels of occupier interest in the retail units, which are now all fully let, and in the office spaces above – of which we only have a few remaining suites available. The vibrant retail parade has a diverse range of independent traders including shops, cafés, restaurants and the ever-popular Leith Depot bar and arts venue, whilst the sympathetically restored office suites have proved very popular as a small business location in the diverse and dynamic community of Leith. The refurbished Red Sandstone building is now well set to play a key role in promoting the rich tradition of diversity and independence which makes Leith such an exciting destination in which to live, work and visit.”

Edinburgh businessman Aytac Gul has opened Middle Eastern street food restaurant Sharawama at The Red Sandstone, as well as operating the café space providing the entry point for the first-floor office suites. As the operator of some seven restaurants and cafes in the Leith area over the last 12 years, Aytac has witnessed many changes to the local neighbourhood.Leith Walk has undergone a radical transformation in the last decade,” he says. “It is now one of the most contemporary yet diverse streets in Edinburgh. It’s a genuinely cosmopolitan community which brings together a hugely diverse range of independent retailers, cafes and bars and is especially appealing to the younger generation looking for something a little different to the rest of the city, often providing better value and a more eclectic mix of attractions.

“The new tramline is now bringing more visitors and footfall to the area, especially when there are more shops, cafes, businesses and homes being created here, attracting more people from the city centre to venture further down Leith Walk.”