Redevelopment of retail site has potential to regenerate east end of Union Street

the former Aberdeen British Home Stores retail unit
the former Aberdeen British Home Stores retail unit

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The owners of the market building at the east end of Union Street are seeking a new and viable approach to the redevelopment of the site.

Rockspring has been in discussions with Aberdeen City Council regarding several options for this site since the collapse of BHS and are today submitting a proposal of application notice which outlines the current approach.

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Shaun Hose, director of Rockspring, said: “The location and scale of this site presents major regeneration opportunities for Aberdeen city centre. Our aim is to create an innovative architectural building and greatly improve the surroundings, with large, open public spaces and pedestrian thoroughfares.

“The approach to design and development will be fundamental in terms of creating a successful piece of urban design, sadly lacking in the current building which is no longer fit for purpose.”

The present market building has been deteriorating for some time both structurally and economically as shopping trends change and the retail experience requires wider and more varied offerings. The collapse of BHS, Toys R Us and House of Fraser underline the challenges this change in the retail landscape presents. 

More attractive and active frontages are being proposed to increase the vibrancy of the area, including dramatically improving the external façade of the market building which backs onto the Green. 

Mr Hose added: “This will transform the current eyesore into a more attractive and contemporary focal point for the Merchant Quarter in keeping with the improvements which have been made to the Green in recent years.”

The proposal is centred around enhancing the overall urban realm at the east end of Union Street and the developers are keen to explore the aspirations and needs of local businesses and residents as well as the wider Aberdeen community through a comprehensive consultation exercise in November.

The proposed uses include retail on Union Street, cafes and restaurants on Market Street and the Green, to complement the existing offering in the area, alongside office space with main entrances from Market Street and the Green.

Mr Hose added; “Working closely with the Council and in consultation with local stakeholders and the wider public, we want to come up with a proposal that fits with the City Centre Masterplan but also responds to market demand for smaller, more diverse retail and leisure outlets and office space. Ultimately, it’s about offering a long-term, sustainable solution for the site that enhances the vitality of the east end of Union Street.”

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