Economic Assessment of Café, Retail and Conference Facility Options

The National Library of Scotland is the country’s largest library and world centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots. The Library celebrates its centenary in 2025. The organisation has ambitious plans to transform its public spaces and position itself as one of Europe’s leading National Libraries by this time. Jura Consultants’ role was to conduct a high level financial appraisal for development opportunities in relation to catering, retail and conference/ meetings/ events facilities. Our study focus was the Library’s main site at George IV Bridge in Edinburgh, but also exploring opportunities at its current administrative space on the Royal Mile. We considered a range of options for each of these three functions varying in terms of location across the two buildings, facility size and type of offer/ experience. Options were shaped by our assessment of the Library’s current performance and challenges faced at present and by our appraisal of the market potential for each function. This included competitor and comparator analysis. Options were assessed individually in terms of their income generating potential but also in terms of their wider impact/ adjacencies. It was critical that this holistic perspective was adopted, acknowledging that each individual investment is part of a wider masterplan for the site and cannot be determined in isolation. This included consideration of functions/ services beyond the direct scope of this study, specifically the Library’s public engagement accommodation. This methodology enabled the study team to identify the optimum development package for café, retail and conference/ meetings events with key implications and considerations for the wider masterplan highlighted. The results of the study will inform the next stage of project development, specifically the brief for an architect-led feasibility study.