Edinburgh council yesterday officially appointed the architect, together with regeneration expert AM Development, to restore the heart of the city's World Heritage Site.
The architect's brief is to look at the functionality of the area, including the buildings, streets, open space and infrastructure, via a ten-year masterplan.
Any plans are sure to trigger controversy due to the historic nature of the site.
But a spokesperson for Broadway Malyan insisted that the scheme was completely necessary. 'From a commercial and retail perspective, Princes Street suffers from being single sided. It is also punctuated by several road traffic junctions, making pedestrian connectivity challenging,' the spokesperson said.
Broadway Malyan also said the area is ideally positioned to serve the city's 'mixed development' needs.
The spokesperson continued: 'Despite the location, rental values have reached a plateau in recent years, but investment interest remains strong.'