Work is under way to transform the ground floor of Aberdeen’s former John Lewis building into a vaccination centre.
The flagship department store did not reopen this year after closing for the final time at Christmas.
In recent weeks, staff have been relocating leftover stock to the upper floors of Norco House to clear the space at street level.
And today, contractors have been moving in to transform the huge space into a new NHS Grampian vaccine centre.
New lease of life for former store
It will take over from the P&J Live arena within weeks, with jabs to be administered there from early September.
A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “We plan to move our vaccination clinic from P&J Live to the former John Lewis store, in Aberdeen city centre, in the coming weeks.”
It is understood that John Lewis executives advised workers of the move towards the end of last week, when the deal was agreed.
The ground floor could be used as a vaccination centre for as long as 12 months.
At the end of March, the retail giant announced plans to axe the Aberdeen store, with the loss of 265 jobs.
The decision became final in July and staff contracts ended on Friday – with many gathering at the shop for a final hurrah.
Earlier this summer, it was reported that north-east health chiefs were looking for a city centre space to set up the new vaccination venue.
City centre site easier to access
Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Liam Kerr has held discussions with John Lewis over the future use of the building.
He said: “I very much welcome a vaccine centre of this size opening in the John Lewis building.
“Many people have found it hard to access vaccination centres in their own communities so I’m hopeful this will now address that issue.
“Aberdeen has one of the lowest take-up rates for the vaccination in Scotland which is why it’s vital walk-in centres like this are made accessible as a matter of urgency.
“This will also prevent the John Lewis site, at least in the short term, from falling into a state of disrepair which I have previously raised concerns about.
“However, we know the vaccine centre will only be temporary so it’s important John Lewis continues to work to find a permanent occupier.”
George Street and Harbour councillor, Michael Hutchison, added: “Hopefully this new location will help encourage more folk to get their vaccination.
“With some luck, there may also be a bonus of people spending a bit of time in George Street and discovering some of the great local businesses there.”
P&J Live to return as entertainment venue
Entertainment events and major conferences will return at the P&J Live arena in September.
The Floating Offshore Wind expo on September 16 is the first planned gathering.
More information on the city’s vaccination clinics is available on the NHS Grampian website.