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The most upmarket homes being created in one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks will have a price tag of £2.5 million, developers have revealed.
The former Donaldson’s School for the Deaf building, in the Haymarket area, is currently being transformed into 112 homes, a decade after staff and pupils moved out.
A huge range of studio flats, one, two and three-bedroom apartments will be coming onto the market within weeks, with prices starting at £250,000.
More than 2200 potential buyers have registered an interest in the £53m development, which has been billed as the most exciting residential scheme to come to the market in the city this year.
The Donaldson’s building was originally created between 1842 and 1851 after its benefactor and local newspaper publisher James Donaldson bequeathed all of his wealth to build and found a hospital for children after his death.
It was designed by renowned architect William Henry Playfair, whose other landmark buildings in Edinburgh include the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, the unfinished National Monument on Calton Hill and Edinburgh University’s Old College.
The building came on to the market after the deaf school decided to relocate to a new site in Linlithgow.
Simon Rettie, managing director of Rettie & Co, who are handling sales of the apartments in the Playfair building, said: “Donaldson’s is such a high profile building within Edinburgh and forms an important part of its history. We’re delighted to work with City & Country on this remarkable project and are confident that an exceptional addition to the city will be created.”
Liz Freeman, interior design manager for City & Country, said: “We have ensured a seamless blend of the historic with the contemporary. We’ve used sleek kitchens and bathrooms to complement the overall layouts and enhance the elegant atmosphere created by the proportions of the historic building. The homes are designed to maximise space and natural light with a fully inclusive specification which is hard to find in modern developments.”
Landscape architect Pol MacDonald said: “It has been a privilege to work with this impressive landscape and to gently reinforce its prominence as an integral part of 21st century Edinburgh. The 19th century landscape of Donaldson’s was one that depicted a rural ‘estate’ providing a protective escape from the city of the time. Although the city limits have grown, the distinctive landscape setting in so many ways still aims to provide this most basic of functions of protection and escapism.’
Housebuilders Cala, who originally purchased the former school site, had to mothball plans for a number of years after the financial crash in 2008. The firm later joined forces on the development with City & Country, with Cala constructing a “sweeping crescent” of new-build apartments behind the existing landmark.
Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country added: “This major development in the heart of Edinburgh’s west end is set to become one of the most sought-after addresses in the Capital.”
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New apartments for sale in Edinburgh – The Playfair at Donaldson’s.
- Winners of 2018 WhatHouse? Awards – Gold for Best Renovation
- Winners of 2018 Scottish Home Awards for Apartment Development of the Year
- Winners of 2018 Scottish Home Awards for Renovation of the Year
- Winners of 2018 The Herald Property Awards Scotland for the Judges’ Award
The Playfair at Donaldson’s is an outstanding building of palatial elegance. With its majestic character and architectural heritage, located on the western boundary of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, it is recognised as one of the most important landmark buildings in the city.
Each apartment in The Playfair has been designed to optimise natural light, making the most of the period windows and impressive proportions of the historic building. The contemporary design of the apartments provides a striking contrast to the building’s exterior. The living spaces have been stylishly designed to be practical and functional for modern life.
Ideally located just west of Edinburgh City Centre, the Category A listed Playfair building includes a collection of apartments designed to provide fantastic panoramic views across Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills, on to an attractive internal courtyard, and sweeping lawns leading to period gate lodges.
21 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B11)
£460,0001 Bedroom Apartment
89 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F12)
£525,0001 Bedroom Apartment
83 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F09)
£545,0002 Bedroom Duplex Apartment
37 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G06)
£599,9502 Bedroom Apartment
45 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G10)
£625,0002 Bedroom Apartment
17 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B27)
£625,0002 Bedroom Apartment
43 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G09)
£640,0002 Bedroom Apartment
19 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B10)
£775,0002 Bedroom Apartment
93 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F14)
£995,0003 Bedroom Apartment
52 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G21)
£1,125,0003 Bedroom Apartment
73 The Playfair Donaldson’s (S01)
£1,695,0003 Bedroom Apartment
11 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B06)1 Bedroom Studio
95 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F13)1 Bedroom Apartment
33 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G04)1 Bedroom Apartment
49 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G12)3 Bedroom Apartment
27 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G01)3 Bedroom Apartment
9 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B05)1 Bedroom Apartment
15 The Playfair Donaldson’s (B08)1 Bedroom Apartment
75 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F05)1 Bedroom Apartment
39 The Playfair Donaldson’s (G07)2 Bedroom Duplex Apartment
69 The Playfair Donaldson’s (F03)2 Bedroom Apartment
New Build Availability
The Playfair at Donaldson’s is an outstanding building of palatial elegance. With its majestic character and architectural heritage, located on the western boundary of the Edinburgh World…
The historic character of this iconic building has been retained and restored where possible, with properties boasting features such as renovated windows and doors, cornicing, wainscot panelling and…
Bespoke luxurious kitchens, in a variety of finishes, have been carefully designed to suit the unique layout of each property. All apartments are sold with a fully inclusive specification including:
The Playfair residents benefit from contemporary bathrooms which are both modern and understated, featuring Sanitaryware from Villeroy and Boch and Brassware from Hansgrohe and Crosswater.
Residents of The Playfair enjoy 16 acres of private parkland. Clipped box hedging and parterres add a formal arrangement whilst balustrade terraces, sweeping lawns and mature trees provide…
The factor at The Playfair at Donaldson’s provides services relating to the day-to-day running of the development. They ensure; alongside the on-site concierge, that all communal areas are kept…
Donaldson’s lies to the west of the city in one of Edinburgh’s most coveted residential areas. Excellent local amenities are easily accessible including schools and local shopping while Haymarket Station, the West End and the City Centre are a short walk away.
The area is characterised by elegant stone built family houses in mature grounds. As one of Edinburgh’s most established residential areas there are many excellent amenities close at hand including several sports clubs, golf courses at Murrayfield and Ravelston and pleasant walks along the Water of Leith and on Corstorphine Hill. Some of Edinburgh’s finest schools, including The Mary Erskine School, Stewart’s Melville College, and St Georges School for Girls are within easy walking distance, while Fettes College and The Edinburgh Academy are also close at hand as are those on the south side of the city.
The excellent local amenities of the West End and the City Centre are a short distance away, and nearby Haymarket Station offers easy access to Edinburgh’s main railway station, Waverley, and Glasgow. Local shopping is available at nearby Roseburn while Craigleith Retail Park has a Sainsbury Superstore and a Marks & Spencer amongst other shops and there is a Waitrose in Comely Bank. The Usher Hall, Lyceum and Traverse Theatres are also within walking distance. Stockbridge, with its range of art galleries, cafes, delicatessens, bars, restaurants and speciality shops, is also close by.
There is convenient road access westwards towards the City Bypass, Edinburgh International airport and the motorway links to the North, South and West in addition to bus routes to various parts of the City.
Whether it is the luxury of having high culture, fine dining and exclusive shopping on your doorstep; or the opportunity to be immersed in the many festivals, exhibitions and outdoor events that take place in Edinburgh; Wester Coates and The West End has it all. Chic, sophisticated and anything but ordinary, this vibrant quadrant of Edinburgh is home to a diverse range of boutique eateries, coffee shops and bars, with something for even the most discerning of palates.
Edinburgh’s creative heart is just minutes from The Playfair with an ever growing collection of independent shops, cafés, fashion boutiques, vintage stores and specialist restaurants to explore.
The Playfair at Donaldson’s is ideally located just seven minutes’ walk from Haymarket station, with its direct services to Edinburgh city centre, Glasgow, London and beyond. It is also within walking distance of the city’s wealth of shops and leisure facilities, so you can immerse yourself in art, culture or retail therapy whenever you feel the need.
- Haymarket Station – 7 minutes
- Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Murrayfield Stadium – 15 minutes
- Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – 18 minutes
- Usher Hall and Fountain Park Leisure Complex – 21 minutes
- Edinburgh Waverley – 30 minutes
- Haymarket Station – 2 minutes
- National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Playhouse and Edinburgh New Town – 14 minutes
- Edinburgh Old Town and Edinburgh Castle – 15 minutes
- Calton Hill and Palace of Holyroodhouse – 19 minutes
- Edinburgh Waverley – 15 minutes
- Edinburgh Airport – 25 minutes
- Glasgow Queen Street – 47 minutes from Haymarket
- Manchester Picadilly – 192 minutes from Haymarket
- London Kings Cross – 264 minutes from Haymarket
- London Stansted – 75 minutes
- Birmingham – 75 minutes
- Paris – 115 minutes
The Playfair at Donaldson’s
The view from The Playfair
Typical living area
Typical dining area
Typical mezzanine bedroom
Typical view from mezzanine level
Typical open plan living, kitchen, dining area
Typical basement apartment
Typical living area
Typical basement apartment living area
Donaldson’s was designed by the eminent Edinburgh architect William Henry Playfair and was built between 1842-51. It was built as a Hospital for the instruction of children in accordance with the terms laid out in the will of James Donaldson.
James Donaldson died in 1830 and in his will bequeathed “all his property, heritable and personal … to build and found a Hospital for Boys and Girls, to be called Donaldson’s Hospital…” The will also listed the trustees named to carry out his bequest.
In 1833 about 17 acres of the Lands of Coates, was acquired from the Governors of Heriot’s, as a site for Donaldson’s Hospital. Donaldson’s trustees invited plans for the design of the Hospital, however it was not until 1838 that William Henry Playfair was appointed as architect having produced four schemes for the trust. Playfair’s first design for the hospital was a two storey and attic, H-plan building, with symmetrically planned back and front courts. Variants of this twin cloistered approach were developed in the second and third schemes, however by the time the successful fourth scheme was submitted, Playfair had abandoned this approach in favour of a two storey, quadrangular palace block with double ranges of dormitories.
The plans underwent further revision at the request of the trustees and the sixth scheme, in which the ranges were reduced to a single width, was finally approved in 1841. The building is planned around a central quadrangle, with single width ranges surrounding it, and is of two storeys with attic rather than the originally proposed three.
At ground floor, projecting from the North, is the chapel. As with all previous designs, girls and boys were segregated, with boys inhabiting the West of the building, and girls the East. Whilst the exterior of the building is palatial in style, the interior was designed in a much more austere way. Playfair undertook specific interior schemes only for the key public areas such as the entrance hall, dining room and council room.
Playfair was also responsible for the design of the setting for the building. The original intention was for a central avenue focused on the southern elevation, and the provision of two pavilion buildings to the east and west. However this was altered under the direction of the trustees and the present arrangement of an east and west entrance was adopted.
The site was purchased by City & Country.
The Playfair, Donaldson’s, Edinburgh
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