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Plans to revamp Union Street building ‘will regenerate Aberdeen city centre’

A design image of the cafe proposed for East Green in Aberdeen
A design image of the cafe proposed for East Green in Aberdeen

Developers say that freshly-lodged plans to transform a vacant building in Aberdeen will help regenerate the struggling city centre.

Rockspring owns several linked properties on Union Street, including the former BHS store and the attached indoor market.

The firm has already submitted radical plans to redesign the disused department store, which closed nearly two years ago, and the adjoining market.

And it has now tendered proposals to rejuvenate the nearby 101-103 Union Street, creating new space for shops facing onto the main thoroughfare and five flats upstairs.

The planning application also details aims to create a cafe at the rear lower level of the building, at the corner of East Green and Correction Wynd.

The design image depicts the proposed venue with large vertical windows and outdoor seating, offering views of the historic Green area.

A spokeswoman for Rockspring said that the company’s vision for the site would assist with the local authority’s masterplan to revive the flagging city centre.

She said: “Union Street has suffered in recent times due to structural changes in the retail environment.

“Our planning application seeks to plug the holes left by failing retailers and department stores, making the area more attractive and fit for purpose so that, together, we can bring more people to live and work in the city.

“We are working closely with Aberdeen City Council to put forward solutions that, not only enhance the buildings we own, but transform them into more relevant and attractive sites with street-level facades that will regenerate that part of Union Street.

“This scheme also adds much-needed living opportunities to a city centre which has been largely neglected by residential developers.”

The site lies within the city’s Merchant Quarter and the Union Street Conservation Area.

Planning papers, which have been filed with the council by chartered surveyors Montagu Evans, explain the significance of the 101 Union Street premises.

The C-listed granite building is hailed as an early example of a classical tenement and listed building consent has been sought for planned alterations to its frontage.

A supporting statement adds: “The refurbishment and alterations proposed are intended to refresh the premises and create a new opportunity and new future for the property.”

Old BHS building plans ‘progressing well’

Proposals for a major overhaul of Aberdeen’s old BHS building are “progressing well”, developers said yesterday.

Rockspring lodged plans to transform both the once-popular department store and the adjoining indoor market in December and members of the public have since submitted letters in support of the scheme.

The company says the Union Street and Market Street buildings appear “unloved”.

It is hoped the redesign will encourage more boutique shops to the centre and potentially attract bars and restaurants to keep it busy into the evening.

The firm intends to add new shopfronts to The Green and to build a frameless glass wall around the old BHS site to showcase its interior and lure in more passers-by.

On Market Street, the indoor market would be set back from the street to remove its “oppressive, overhanging facade” and provide extra seating and public space outside.

Rockspring also plans a two-storey glass wall to sit underneath a large, “welcoming” curved corner which will help steer visitors along the side of the building.

The design document includes a suggestion for removing the “solid monolithic wall” overseeing The Green and replacing it with backlit perforated metal cladding.

Currently the space is home to a large mural by German artists Herakut, which was painted during the Nuart Festival.

Last year, the city council pulled out of plans to develop housing on the site, saying they were no longer “financially viable”.

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