The drinks giant’s plan, now lodged with City of Edinburgh Council, will create around 180 jobs and also see the upgrade of visitor facilities at distilleries which provide the malts for the Johnnie Walker blend.
Diageo said it is moving to invest over £185 million in a series of “Scotch whisky experiences” which includes revamping its existing 12 distillery visitor attractions and a £35m layout to reopen the “iconic distilleries of Port Ellen and Brora”.
The Edinburgh planning application, jointly submitted by Diageo and the building owner Parabola, sets out proposals for a seven-floor visitor centre. The plans involve the restoration of the building including the clock on the corner of Princes Street and Hope Street.
The proposals also include a space for staging music, theatre, arts and community events and a bar academy. The firm said it would also generate around £135m in tourism spend.
At ground level the plans include “significant retail space”, said Diageo.
The plan also creates a “powerful strategic opportunity for Edinburgh city centre, establishing a major attraction in the west end, helping to balance visitor footfall across the city”, the firm said.
David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “The location is one of Edinburgh’s most exceptional landmark buildings and we plan to restore it to its former glory as a cornerstone of the city and a thriving part of its cultural and social life.
“We have the most passionate and skilled whisky-makers in the world here in Scotland and we want to celebrate their craft and everything that is great about Scotland and whisky.”
Tony Hordon, Parabola managing director, said: “We feel like the custodians of a beautiful piece of Edinburgh real estate and we have taken great care to consider its future.”