Moray Council has agreed to submit an £18 million bid for regeneration cash that could change the face of Elgin.
The bid will support the Elgin town centre masterplan, which was approved in November following a public consultation.
The money would come from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
Strategic planning and development manager Gary Templeton is leading work on the masterplan.
He said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes on these projects.
“We want to attract more people to the area and for Elgin to be a place people are inspired by.”
Convener Marc Macrae added that “investment of this magnitude” would level up Elgin and Moray.
What are the plans?
This project will support the redevelopment of several vacant, derelict, and/or underused properties in the centre of Elgin.
The Grade B listed Elgin Club on Commerce Street has been empty since closing its doors for the last time in December 2002.
Redevelopment of this historic building will create a 14-bedroom new high quality boutique hotel, providing much needed tourist accommodation.
New bar and restaurant facilities, open to non-residents, will also support a new vibrant evening economy, with a variety of options for entertainment, dining and socialising.
The ground-floor Reading Room will provide a space available for use for small scale events.
The new hotel will create 32 permanent jobs.
A number of properties, including 51 and 57 South Street, the derelict former Jailhouse nightclub, Newmarket bar, and the old Victoria Market, will bring forward commercial, retail, and residential development.
This will include the creation of a new student social space in partnership with Highlands and Islands Student Association.
The project is expected to be £2.6m.
Creative arts centre
A new community art space will be created inside one of the vacant or derelict units.
Hopefully the facility will aid efforts to enhance the evening economy and cultural activity offering in Elgin.
Officials previously warned of the need for more accommodation and things to do to prevent Elgin from becoming a “ghost town”.
This space will be operated by Moray Arts Development Engagement and create 8 new jobs.
Officials are keen to replicate the success of The Stove Network, an arts and community organisation in the heart of Dumfries through this £1.3m development.
Public realm and access
Meanwhile, improved traffic control measures and streetscape works will support active travel, address accessibility issues, provide new disabled parking and help create an outdoor cafe culture to complete the Central Elgin project.
Senior Engineer Diane Anderson explained: “We want to encourage people to stay longer in the town centre.
“In a way, we want to reclaim our streets and allow more walking areas.
“Batchen Street is rich with cafe culture.
“Better measures to prevent vehicles driving through would allow businesses to utilise the spaces with outdoor seating.”
The Auction Mart and former Sawmill by Linkwood Road, which have been lying vacant for a number of years are also included in the projects for the funding bid.
Flooding issues and access constraints will be addressed before the sites are opened up for commercial development.
Re-imagining of the park will include bringing the pond back into active use with accessible walkways, planting for biodiversity, new seating, and boat and paddleboard hire from a jetty.
The café will have limited indoor and outdoor seating.
The existing toilet block will be extended and repurposed into a café and ticket office with changing places toilet to support park users.
Alongside, a new outdoor performance space will be developed for hire for drama, music, film events, festivals and use by local groups.
Got a story?
If you are working on any projects which involve breathing new life into vacant buildings in Moray, get in touch by emailing email@example.com or by calling 07813 400566.