City of Edinburgh council has been urged to "do everything it can" to stop one of the capital's most "iconic" arts venues from being turned into student flats, offices or a boutique hotel.

Oesselmann Estate Limited, the Isle of Man based owners of Summerhall, announced their intention to sell up on Tuesday afternoon, sparking widespread dismay. 

Hundreds have already signed a petition demanding the old vet school be kept as a “cultural hub".

Meanwhile, Robert McDowell, who founded the venue and remains its director, said the sale was going ahead against his wishes.

READ MORE: Owners of Edinburgh's Summerhall put venue on market

Summerhall Management Ltd, the company responsible for programming the thousands of performances that take place every year has promised that their 2024 Fringe programme will go ahead as planned.

They have said they will work with potential buyers to "ensure the arts are front and centre of any decisions that may be made in the future."

However, the estate agent's prospectus makes clear that there are a number of "refurbishment options" for the venue including "residential, galleries and entertainment spaces, boutique hotels, offices, studios, and student housing."

The building is substantial, covering around two acres.

There are more than 110 companies with offices on-site, including Barney’s Beer, Pickering's Gin distillery and a number of artist’s studios.

The film director Mark Cousins tweeted: “So @Summerhallery in Edinburgh is for sale, might become offices or student flats.

“One of the biggest private arts centres in Europe. More than 500 rooms. When it opened I could hardly believe it.

“Like a Berlin space in the 80s where Bowie/Eno might have worked. It is ramshackle, the opposite of bourgeois cultural places.”

He said the venue gave Edinburgh an “edge, astringency.” “A city needs those things,” he added.

The Herald:

Musician Karine Polwart said: "If this becomes student/luxury flats it’ll be an utter travesty in a city that stakes its identity on culture. One of the most culturally significant spaces/venues in the whole country."

Local SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: “It’s sad to see Summerhall being sold, it’s been a strong part of the community & a centre of art in Edinburgh.

“Any potential future must include arts use & the Council must do everything it can to ensure it doesn’t simply become more student housing or another hotel.”

Green MSP Lorna Slater said the news was “shocking".

“Summerhall has been an incredibly important cultural hub in Edinburgh - hosting fringe events, art galleries, and gigs for over a decade.

“I hope that whatever its future, it can continue to function as a community space for art and creative expression.”

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Sam Gough, the Chief Executive said the whole team at the venue were “committed to the long-term survival of the immensely important cultural work that was started here in 2011.“

He added: “The building is being sold with leases intact so over 100+ artists, small businesses and companies that work out of Summerhall will remain. Our annual programme of events and the Fringe in 2024 will not be affected.

“The building has only just been put on sale and to clarify some speculation, it has not been sold.

“We look forward to working with the agent and any potential new owners to ensure the arts are front and centre of any decisions that may be made in the future for this now iconic arts campus.”

Mr McDowell said: "When much else in life is uncertain and filled with warring, when the healing balms of the arts are in highest demand, it is troubling for much-loved, dare I say famous, Summerhall to go through the property market wringer.

“Against my personal wishes, the decision was made to put the premises up for sale.

“My hope is that we come through this intact and able to continue as before, perhaps even better.

“We proved ourselves a valuable part of what makes Edinburgh a great city and fully international. We are honoured that there is so much love and support, let us hope for the best."

The Herald:

Stephen Kay from estate agent Cuthbert White said: “We are excited to be bringing this to the open market and we expect considerable interest in this property from a wide range of domestic and international parties.

“It is an important landmark in the history of Edinburgh, occupying an enviable location overlooking The Meadows.”