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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Forth Ports appoint RTKL as Leith Docks Master-planner

The international architecture firm which has been responsible for key developments, including the transformation of the US city of Baltimore, has been appointed by Forth Ports to set out a detailed masterplan for Britannia Quay and Waterfront Plaza, the first two of the villages within Leith Docks.

RTKL, a global architecture, urban and graphic design firm, which serves clients across the world from offices in London, Madrid, Tokyo, Hong Kong and throughout the US, will devise the masterplan for Britannia Quay and Waterfront Plaza, including a proposed extension to Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre. Capital Investment for the area could be in the region of 700m, and will form part of the wider Forthside development which includes Granton and Western Harbours.

The RTKL team will be led by John Gosling, head of the firm's Planning and Urban Design, with commercial strategic input from the head of its London practice, Ken Christian. Day to day operations will be managed by the firm's Associate Director Mahmood Faruqi.

John Gosling has been responsible for directing many of the firm's award-winning projects including its revitalisation of Baltimore's inner harbour. RTKL's association with the city goes back to the 1950's when it began work on transforming the decimated waterfront and downtown areas of the city. Baltimore is now a changed city - it has become one of the top 10 summer destinations in the world as named by Frommer's, the world's leading travel guide publisher, with over 11 million business and leisure visitors annually. Its growth continues today with more than $1 billion in new development planned.

The project will build on the initial LDDF supplementary planning guidance and the Western Harbour masterplan produced by UK-based architects, RMJM and Robert Adam. Working with Forth Ports, the local community and key stakeholders, RTKL's key remit is to produce a residential, retail and commercial development plan for the area which maximises the economic value and diverse potential of the area in a context which benefits and compliments both Leith and the City Centre.

Forth Properties Managing Director Nathan Thomson said: "We recently visited Baltimore to see first hand the very positive impact of RTKL's input in regenerating urban spaces and linking a city centre to its waterfront. We believe they are by far the best firm to take forward these initial phases of the redevelopment of Leith Docks. Their team brings a wealth of talent and experience in global regeneration projects and we are looking forward to working with them on this key phase of the development of Edinburgh Forthside."

John Gosling of RTKL said: "The Hub is an exciting development which will link Edinburgh to its waterfront. In undertaking this project we will be seeking to build on the momentum of Ocean Terminal and other existing developments within the area. We will also leverage on the many strengths of Leith, including its strong historical traditions and Edinburgh's strong economic and educational platform.

"In development terms, Edinburgh faces many of the same issues of other international cities such as traffic management, affordable housing and retail provision. However, it has a great advantage of being much further advanced than many cities in terms of architecture, housing and international profile."

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