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Plans for more flats overlooking Union Terrace Gardens could ‘reinvigorate city centre’

Pictured is a locator of Denburn House, Union Terrace, Aberdeen. Picture by DARRELL BENNS

A historic Aberdeen building could be the latest of former office block to be transformed into flats amid claims it could “revitalise the city centre”.

Mandale Homes has applied to the local authority in a bid to turn the Grade B-Listed Denburn House on Union Terrace into 86 flats.

Planning documents show the development would include 19 studio apartments, 60 one-bed flats and seven two-bed apartments.

The existing car park at Diamond Street would be retained for use by new residents.

The property is made up of three separate six-storey buildings which were built between 1896 and 1902 and eventually merged.

But in the 1980s the three original buildings were demolished except from the main granite frontage.

A new layout was then constructed to link them together and provide open plan office space.

The new flats would overlook Union Terrace Gardens

It overlooks Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) which is currently undergoing regeneration works as part of the local authority’s City Centre Masterplan.

The future blueprint aims to encourage more people to live and work in the city centre.

Converting unused buildings such as Denburn House into residential properties is considered as a positive step towards achieving this.

A statement issued by ELG Planning states the proposals will encourage the promotion of Aberdeen as an “energetic place” and will “assist in the strengthening of the city centre economy”.

It added: “The scheme will also re-use an existing city centre building, in this case a designated heritage asset.”

Planning permission to change to the former office building into a hotel and serviced apartments was previously approved by the city council back in 2018.

city centre
For sale sign at Denburn House

Budget hotel chain Point A had proposed to transform Denburn House into a 121 bedroom hotel and 57 studio aparthotel.

It was hoped it would include facilities like a gym and laundry rooms however the plans never came to fruition.

More emphasis being put on converting city centre buildings into flats

A number of other historic buildings in Aberdeen have already been converted into housing while plans are currently under way for others.

A waiver currently exists for city centre developers that exempts them from the need to build affordable properties.

It has been on offer since September 2018 in an attempt to “stimulate building” and will remain in place until June next year.

Developers have just a year to begin work after securing planning permission, if they are to benefit from the waiver.

The House of Fraser department store closed its doors in the Granite City for the last time in 2002 and it was transformed into apartments in 2017.

Fraser House, a C-Listed Georgian building located on the corner of Union Street and Market Street, now has 34 one, two and three bedroom apartments over three storeys.

Meanwhile plans were revealed earlier this year by the Epic Group to convert the upper storeys of the former Monkey House into 14 high-end flats.

The project developers hope that the proposal for the A-Listed building, located on the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace, will help to “reinvigorate” the city centre.

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