New nationwide campaign to drive businesses to Union Street

03/05/2024
Left to Right: Bob Keiller (Our Union Street), Cody Mowbray (AGCC), Ewan Lyle (Hampton), Suzanne Irvine (Hampton) and Ryan Crighton (AGCC)

A MAJOR new marketing campaign has been launched to attract businesses from all corners of the UK to Aberdeen’s Union Street.

As more than £100million of investment transforms the city centre, the Our Union Street organisation is launching a nationwide effort to bring a new generation of shops, bars and restaurants to the Granite Mile.

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In what is a first for a UK high street, all of the vacant units will be marketed together through a new website and digital CRM platform – www.ourunionstreet.com

And in a departure from normal practice in the commercial real estate market, the site displays upfront rent and rates payable, broken down monthly, so that incoming business can see exactly what their costs will be.

Artificial intelligence is also being deployed to show how the units could be used, and the site also details support packages which have been donated by other city businesses to help support the regeneration effort.

The digital campaign will drive new business enquiries to Our Union Street, which was set-up in March 2023 to arrest soaring vacancy rates and plummeting footfall.

Over the past year, the number of vacant shops has fallen from a high of 52 to under 30 as local entrepreneurs take advantage of what is one of the most generous set of incentives available anywhere in the UK.

New occupiers taking on long-term vacant units could benefit from up to two years rent and business rate free. Grants of up to £35,000 are also being offered to incoming businesses through Aberdeen City Council’s empty shops scheme.

The marketing campaign is being led by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC), one of six founding partners which is funding the Our Union Street group. Digital agency Hampton has also made a donation to support the delivery of the new site.

Ryan Crighton, policy and marketing director at AGCC, said: “When we originally put forward the idea of Our Union Street, we wanted to create an organisation to seize the narrative and tell the story of what Union Street will become.

“Over the next 18-months, major investment will transform the Granite Mile into a high street fit for the 21st century – and for a limited time, incoming businesses can take advantage of fit-out grants and potentially two years rent and rates free. It is an incredible opportunity.

“The Chamber is deeply committed to seeing this iconic thoroughfare thrive once again. We envision a Union Street that is not only a hub for shoppers and tourists, but also a dynamic space where new businesses can flourish and contribute to a vibrant, sustainable economy. This website and campaign will be a vital step towards achieving that.”

Skerry Read, managing director at Hampton, added: “Hampton committed to support the Our Union Street initiative with the build of a brand-new website to help bring the campaign to life.

“As an organisation, we are passionate about the future of the city, and we’re proud to play our part in the regeneration of our incredible city centre.”

Bob Keiller, chairman of Our Union Street, said: “We are inviting businesses and entrepreneurs from across the UK to be part of the transformation of Aberdeen’s iconic Granite Mile.

“Rents and rates have fallen, we have some of the best incentives anywhere in the country and a huge community engaged in delivering a bright future for our street. It is an incredibly fertile environment for investors.

He added: “We are hugely grateful to Hampton for helping to fund and deliver the project. From day one, this has been a community-led campaign and the generosity shown by Hampton and many other businesses highlights just how invested the city is in re-energising Union Street.”

Our Union Street is a community-led, not-for-profit organisation which is seeking to restore pride and prosperity to Union Street, which sits at the heart of Aberdeen City Centre.

It has been set-up by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and Opportunity North East, with additional support from Shell, which recently relocated to the street.

AB15 Limited – owned and run by Bob Keiller and his business partner Derrick Thomson – is also funding the organisation, and both businessmen have committed to running the campaign free of charge.

Visit www.ourunionstreet.com to learn more.

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