A MAJOR £200 million development near one of Edinburgh's main railways stations has hit the buffers after one of the companies involved put its stake up for sale.

Interserve had been working with Tiger Developments to build offices, hotels and retail outlets on the former goods yard next to Haymarket, which has lain vacant for half a century.

Despite insisting it was "fully committed" to the project as late as October last year, Interserve has now decided to sell its interest, meaning a new investor will have to be found.

The company says the sale represents a "fantastic opportunity" for those willing to put up the cash, but a buyer will have to come forward before a brick is laid.

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The site is said to be one of the best-connected in Edinburgh, sitting near transport links and close to the city centre.

yet plans to refurbish the former industrial yard have come and gone with little being achieved. The most recent scheme was laid down in 2006, before being derailed by the 2008 financial crash.

Interserve were initially scheduled to complete work on the first series of buildings in the Haymarket Development by the spring, but construction work is now delayed until at least the summer.

 The development already has consent for five buildings, a total of 340,000 sq ft of much needed Grade A office space, 54,000 sq ft of retail and leisure, 168 bed apart-hotel, a 190 bedroom hotel, and 321 underground car parking spaces.

It was reported that reported pre-lets had already been be agreed with high-street outlets including Pret A Manger, Prezzo, Tesco, Staycity, and Q Park.

However, an amendment to the planning permission is currently being considered by Edinburgh Council, and it is likely any incoming investor would want to alter the plans, meaning further delay.

Interserve's decision to pull out before comes after substantial work was already completed preparing the ground and shoring up Victorian rail way tunnels which run underneath the site which are used by trains travelling between Haymarket and Waverley stations.

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The developer was required by rail authorities to carry out significant regrouting of the tunnels, work which could only be done for a few hours each night after the last train had passed through and before the first journey of the morning.

Dougie Sutherland, executive director at Interserve, said the decision to put the company's stake up for sale came after a "strategic review".

He told the Edinburgh Evening News: “Following a strategic review of the project, Interserve has decided to explore options to realise its investment in Haymarket, having completed an extensive groundworks programme on the project and submitted a revised planning application to the City of Edinburgh Council.

"The project is now at a natural point where we feel it is right to consider our options around the release of capital from this development.”

Cllr Gavin Barrie, Housing and Economy Convener, the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This site, as an entry point to the West End of central Edinburgh, has huge potential for the city.

"It is sited on a major transport hub and within easy walking distance of our flagship Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

"Although the development may have stalled I am confident the right investor will recognise the potential to transform this important area of Edinburgh.”

Advisers DougraySmith and JLL have been appointed to sell the project on. The former are well respected industry veterans, with connections to US hedge funds and private equity investors, while JLL are a top three international property consultancy.

A spokeswoman for Interserve said that the project would remain on track. She said: "The site is completely viable and this represents a fantastic opportunity for an investor to get involved.

"There is a real lack of opportunities of this type in Edinburgh at the moment and no doubt a buyer will be found, although a timescale can't be put on that."