Drastic changes to the central section of Aberdeen’s Union Street will get under way at the start of 2024.
A new road layout will create more room for pedestrians and cyclists, opening the door to potential full pedestrianisation in the future.
And along the same stretch, between Market Street and Bridge Street, efforts to spruce up unsightly buildings will be carried out at the same time.
Buildings revamp to add sparkle as Union Street rises from the ashes
It comes after a report went before councillors last February, recommending a pilot project to do up some unloved buildings.
The suggestion was to carry out these improvement works” in tandem with road changes, so that the gleaming buildings would “complement” the new streetscape.
Papers going before councillors at a crunch meeting next Wednesday explain that this should “set the tone for the remainder of the street”.
Officials believe there will be a welcome knock-on effect…
They say the project will “give a clear indication” to the occupiers, landlords and tenants elsewhere on Union Street about how improvements may be simplified and achieved inexpensively.
What did Union Street buildings project involve?
Since the scheme was agreed 18 months ago, engineers have studied the condition of buildings along the 107-131 Union Street stretch.
That goes from the JD Sports, and includes the McDonalds frontage among those leading to the steps to The Green.
That survey has given a good idea of what might be required to bring each structure up to scratch.
Now 11 owners and occupiers along that stretch have been consulted about the state of their buildings.
Most were positive about the prospect of upgrades, but flagged some difficulties about “contributing financially”.
The report states: “Owners/occupiers have highlighted they would prefer to see
incentives such as rate reduction or support with energy costs to reduce overall costs, and increase occupancy rates.”
How will Union Street buildings project be paid for?
The council is still working on that.
Reports say the authority will “continue to work with building owners” to see how private sector funding or grants can be secured.
In the meantime, work will begin on some remedial efforts pinpointed in an “empty shops action plan”.
Last month, a £500,000 scheme to reconfigure empty units was launched.
Now, an “empty shops grant scheme review panel” will be set up to decide who should get public cash to enhance their properties.
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What road changes are coming?
A cycle lane wide enough for people travelling in both directions, will be carved out on the north side of the thoroughfare.
It will stretch from Market Street to Bridge Street, but ultimately there are hopes that it can be extended along the entire Union Street.
It has now been confirmed that work on the alterations will begin in early 2024.