A former data center in Edinburgh, Scotland is to be converted into flats and commercial space.

Edinburgh's development management subcommittee approved the plans this month after tossing a coin.

Located at 525 Ferry Road, the data center will become 256 flats with the rest used for commercial space, as per applications made by Artisan Real Estate in a joint venture with fund manager REInvest Asset Management.

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While in favor of the conversion, the committee was split on how much the developer should be required to contribute to the local education fund. One option called for £1 million ($1.17m) in funding, the other £3m ($3.52m).

The committee ended up choosing by tossing a coin, with luck turning in favor of the larger funding commitment.

Artisan Real Estate regional director David Westwater, however, says this decision may jeopardize the development.

“A threefold increase in education contribution to £3 million would challenge the viability of any development – especially at a time when the residential market is still struggling to come to terms with the impact of higher interest rates on mortgages and developers are facing increased build and construction finance costs," said Westwaer.

"This decision could delay or put in jeopardy the delivery of this much-needed housing in Edinburgh which we had hoped would significantly address the city’s well-publicized ‘housing emergency’.”

Twenty-five percent of the proposed properties would be "affordable housing."

525 Ferry Road was formerly an office building and data center, which has been vacant for around five years. The plans would demolish the building, and reconstruct the site.

The facility was once the Scottish headquarters of Deutsche Bank, and was the home of State Street Bank until 2018.

The property was first put up for sale in 2017 when State Street Bank announced its plans to relocate.

The site was described as a 110,000 sq ft (10,220 sqm) facility and was listed by JLL and Cuthbert White, quoted as looking for a "big ticket occupier." The site was then let to arts charity Edinburgh Palette. REInvest Asset Management was listed as the landlord of the property which is held in a progressive property fund within a pan-European portfolio managed on behalf of a German insurance group.

According to proposals made to Edinburgh Council last year, the site requires a full replacement as "the utility cost of the building, the inefficiency of the mechanical and electrical systems the need for security to be present, the running and operating costs and a major flood in November 2022 have all contributed to the building being unsuitable for continued use."

The proposal, if successful, expects to start works on the site in mid-2024 with completion in late 2026.