Edinburgh property centre buys into Northcross look

Edinburgh-based Northcross hopes to get final approval on designs this week for a £500 000 revamp of the city’s flagship residential property showroom, due to relaunch in March next year.

With an average weekly footfall of more than 7000, the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre claims around 90 per cent of the house and flat market across Edinburgh and the Lothians. It offers prospective homebuyers ‘one-stop shop’ access to 265 member solicitors firms, says ESPC marketing director Simon Fairclough. Under the Scottish system, solicitors rather than estate agents dominate residential property sales.

ESPC’s showroom at 85 George Street has not been refurbished since it was first occupied in 1990 and the design brief is to bring it up to date. ‘We provide a broader range of services now [specifically, financial services] and the revamp is also about rebalancing that offer with a more retail-led approach,’ says Fairclough.

Arranged over two floors, the 500m2 outlet is described as a ‘narrow, linear space about 40m front-to-back’ by Northcross senior designer Craig Mann, who is leading the project with creative director Ewan McCarthy.

The financial services operation will be housed in the basement, with the coffee bar franchise – run by Starbucks – switched to a newly created mezzanine level at the back of the ground floor.

According to Mann, the main objective with the property display area is to convey the ‘feel-good factor’ and the excitement of house-buying.

Circulation is being improved, Internet access upgraded and ‘breakfast bar-height’ information points introduced.

‘It’s about making the space more dynamic and barrier-free, in the same way that banks have made their environments more personable,’ he explains.

Northcross won the work, worth a five-figure fee, after a four-way pitch in July.

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