Potential suitors are lining up to learn more about new commercial properties built within Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen.
The number of businesses and organisations sounding out the city council on the availability of space in the city centre park has reached “double figures,” Aberdeen Journals has learned.
Each of the three pavilions, at the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace, near the Burns statue and at the Rosemount Viaduct end, are understood to be catching the eye of would-be tenants.
Viewings started last month, after the local authority’s property agents FG Burnett listed them for lease in June.
The council’s chief officer for capital projects, John Wilson, has told councillors there has been “positive interest” in all of the units, which are very close to being finished.
Work on the interiors, fitting out for their future use is underway – including a new lift down into the gardens to improve public access.
The three pavilions, which council chiefs say they do not expect to pay off the multi-million-pound cost of the refurbishment of the Victorian park, have been met with a “very positive response,” according to Councillor Marie Boulton, the capital programme convener.
She told us: “Inquiries from parties interested in the pavilions is in the double figures.
“They have been met with a really good response.”
All three are being marketed as commercial units, though there has previously been talk of dedicating one of the units to the arts.
Progress continues towards late 2021 reopening of Union Terrace Gardens
The £28m revamp of Union Terrace Gardens is hoped to bring more visitors to the leafy, green space down below Union Street.
Except for some weather-dependent planting and landscaping, the new-look gardens are expected to be finished by the end of this year.
New paths and events space are included in the plans, while the the mosaic-tiled Victorian toilets and arches underneath Union Terrace are also being improved.
Contractors Balfour Beatty have already completed work to restore and replace balustrades surrounding the sloped Victorian park.
The main contractor was forced to apologise earlier this year, after historically protected granite was left in an “unapproved location” – the garden of an Aberdeen pub boss.
Widespread outrage led to the council demanding a complete audit of all UTG masonry, to ensure it was all being kept securely.
Union Bridge lighting project shelved
Meanwhile, council bosses have admitted defeat on part of their plans for the garden overhaul.
Designers had wanted to fit a new lighting feature, costing around £70,000, to Union Bridge.
While safety barriers have already been erected on the B-listed crossing, it had been hoped the lights would further help to deter suicide attempts.
Psychological studies, council staff previously highlighted, suggested better lighting – and increased numbers of people in the area brought due to the “vibrant” atmosphere it would create – would make people in crisis less likely to make the decision to make the trip there.
But as Union Bridge – the world’s largest single-span granite bridge – crosses the Aberdeen to Inverurie railway line, access proved tricky – while, practically, there was not space to fit the proposed lighting safely.
Mr Wilson told councillors: “We have been unable to develop the Union Bridge lighting design proposals into a workable solution that will allow council maintenance teams to inspect and test in the future.”