A former insurance office that has lain empty for 30 years will finally be brought back to life – as part of a project to encourage more people to live in Aberdeen city centre.
The B-listed building at 173 Union Street – on the corner with Bridge Street overlooking Union Terrace Gardens – has fallen into disrepair over the years.
In 1937, it was home to General Insurance Corporation Ltd, with Wm Kennaway Ltd bakers on floors below.
But over the years, after brief spells as offices, the building has fallen into disrepair.
Now Fitzgerald and Associates has been given permission to transform the block into six flats.
Developers hope the flats will be “desirable” for first time buyers and young professionals in the city.
The planning application states: “The first and second floor levels on Union Street have been vacant offices, with the third floor flat, all having lain vacant for some 30+ years.
“The office space on the third and fourth floor of Windmill Brae has also lain vacant in recent years.
“We were approached by our client in November 2018 to carry out a survey and inspection of the building and look at alternative uses and options for the building.
“After we looked at the building in detail it became clear that the best option for the building would be to convert the upper floors into residential accommodation which will sit well with the surrounding area bringing life to the building and in line with the current Aberdeen city centre living strategy.”
The survey found that various areas of the building had been left “neglected” with the third floor most affected.
In the council’s decision notice, planning officers said the project supported the authority’s ambition to encourage people to live in the heart of the city.
He described the development as a “fightback” in retaliation to increased pressures on Union Street retailers from Union Square.
The Gastro Pub Real Ale House, which will champion local distilleries and breweries and vegan food, is planned for the former Thomas Cook shop.
Creating more housing is a major component of the 25-year city centre masterplan which has been developed by Aberdeen City Council.
The authority is committed to constructing many new properties and is aiming towards an eventual figure of 1,500, which could increase the population of the city by 3,000.