McGinty’s group unveiled as operator for £75m Aberdeen market revamp

08/08/2023
Left to Right: Allan Henderson, Director of The McGinty’s Group, Councillor Ian Yuill, Councillor Alex McLellan, Martin Widerlechner, Marketing & Sales Manager

A LOCAL award-winning hospitality group was today announced as the preferred operator for the new multi-million-pound Aberdeen market development.

Aberdeen City Council has agreed heads of terms with The McGinty’s Group, which is behind some of the Granite City’s most loved venues such as The Silver Darling, The Grill and Under The Hammer, for the site which is to be a destination venue featuring international-style food, drink, and a retail market.

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The local company – which was chosen after an open selection process – plans to work alongside some of the region’s best up-and-coming producers in order to deliver a world-class attraction for the North East.

The development will also improve pedestrian connectivity between Union Street and the bus and railway stations via The Green and enliven Hadden Street and Market Street with urban realm improvements in and around The Green. 

The site is to be developed with attractive market-style floorspace to create a destination venue with marketplace elements promoting local produce and goods alongside continental-style delicatessen, cafes, and food outlets.

The design will feature a mixture of small retail units alongside space for temporary and pop-up facilities to allow for increased variety and would be flexible to seasonal requirements. There would also be a flexible-use outside space on the Green which could be used for events or pop-up market space.

Cllr Alex McLellan, Convener of the Finance and Resources Committee at Aberdeen City Council, said: “The market development will create a vibrant and exciting new destination for people to visit in the city centre, as well as create an improved connection between Union Street and the bus and train stations.

“I am pleased we have secured a local operator who has expertise in the hospitality industry, who will deliver a range of food and drink outlets, providing a boost to the local economy.”

Cllr Ian Yuill, Co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “It is great to see a local business taking on the operating of the new market. The new market will be a real attraction for our city centre as well as improving pedestrian links between Union Street, the Green and beyond.

“The McGinty Group runs some of the city’s most well-known hospitality venues. I look forward to seeing the detailed designs for the interior of the market.”

Allan Henderson, of The McGinty’s Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with Aberdeen City Council on what is a key development for the city centre. As a long-term advocate for the City Centre Masterplan, I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition. We have proven throughout the bidding process that our passion for the city and expertise in the hospitality industry is unmatched.

“The key purpose of the market is to drive economic activity and footfall in the city centre. It is likely that the new market will employ up to 200 people. As a proud Aberdonian, I am very excited The McGinty’s Group will play its part in this project that will transform the city.

Martin Widerlechner, of The McGinty’s Group, said: “We will offer our local experience and provide springboard opportunities to small businesses. Whether it is food operators, traders or creatives , we hope to showcase the best North East has to offer while offering affordable spaces and mentorship.”

Demolition work has taken place on the former BHS building and legal work is continuing in preparation for the next stage of the works. A revised planning application for the new market has been submitted. The former BHS building had been vacant for approximately seven years before it was bought by the City Council.

The central section of Union Street and Aberdeen market building are critical components in the Heart of the City area of intervention identified in the City Centre Masterplan, which has the key objective to reinstate the central role of Union Street in the life of the city, establishing stronger linkages north and south and creating a destination not just for shopping but for many city activities.

The City Council is to receive £20million from the UK Levelling Up Fund which will be used towards the development of the new market building and nearby streetscaping.

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