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Aberdeen considers going it alone on market redevelopment

May 6 2021

Aberdeen considers going it alone on market redevelopment

Aberdeen City Council is considering a purchase of the former Aberdeen Market and BHS building for an undisclosed sum to kickstart the regeneration of the city centre, either directly or with a development partner.

A committee report recommends that both sites be taken into public ownership to progress a mix of retail, food, drink and leisure uses at Hadden Street as well as improved access from Union Street.

The intervention follows a decision by the current owners to market the site for sale despite obtaining planning consent for a major office development, which has 'not proved to be deliverable'.

Taking matters into their own hands the council are keen to develop the site as 'market-style floorspace' combining food and drink outlets with open-air stalls selling local produce and continental-style cafes.

Outlining their indicative approach the report states: "The design will feature a mixture of fixed units of various sizes alongside space for temporary and pop-up facilities which would allow for increased variety and be flexible to seasonal requirements."

£1.5m of public realm improvements to surrounding streets will also be undertaken to improve connections, accessibility and navigability, including the pedestrianisation of a central section of Union Street between Bridge Street and Market Street. 

A £150m capital fund to finance improvements to the city centre through to 2026 will be used take ownership
A £150m capital fund to finance improvements to the city centre through to 2026 will be used take ownership
The ageing 1970s Aberdeen Market is viewed as an obstacle to regeneration
The ageing 1970s Aberdeen Market is viewed as an obstacle to regeneration


Hamish ashcroft
#1 Posted by Hamish ashcroft on 6 May 2021 at 15:04 PM
Sounds like it could be good. I’ve always thought it would be nice to have indoor (or outside) regularly scheduled (not just once a month) or even permanent markets that are like a supermarket, except all the different sections are rented by different local businesses, eg local bakery for the bread section, fishmongers for the fish section etc. And it would have to be normal things, not all Uber expensive artisan fancy stuff. Would be something different, hopefully a great pull for people to go to the city centre, and it would give the centre something that out of town shopping doesent offer. It would also hopefully be a big positive for local businesses that need the business now more than ever...
Fitz Hat
#2 Posted by Fitz Hat on 7 May 2021 at 10:07 AM
This looks positive. The key will be attracting a good mix of independent businesses.

Improving access from Union Street to The Green should be a priority.
#3 Posted by Lb on 7 May 2021 at 10:40 AM
Dare I say it, the council doing something good?
#4 Posted by AB on 7 May 2021 at 12:41 PM
Great idea in principle, which probably means the Council won't follow it up. Or if it does, no chance it will look like that, after the Council inevitably appoints Halliday Fraser Munro.
#5 Posted by Zoltan on 7 May 2021 at 12:55 PM
This is a project of our time - replacing an outdated chunk of retail real estate with public realm and small scale local enterprise to create a city centre leisure destination whilst improving connectivity. And eschewing another faceless office scheme at the same time. This has to happen and become a poster child for the evolution of the High St. Great vision and ambition from the council on this occasion.
Andrew Brown
#6 Posted by Andrew Brown on 9 May 2021 at 16:35 PM
Does Aberdeen really another shopping centre, it needs to see how it can create a link between bon accord, trinity and union square. We don’t need more empty retail spaces. Or just charge less rent and rates to encourage people to take to these retail spaces.
Andrew Brown
#7 Posted by Andrew Brown on 10 May 2021 at 08:03 AM
Look very promising. It would be great to see more of a connection established from Union Street > The Green > (the dreaded) Union Square and the station. Just hope there's the footfall to prevent it turning into a collection of Vape and hacked mobile phone shops.
Voice of reason
#8 Posted by Voice of reason on 12 May 2021 at 08:25 AM
The business plan behind this scheme has the integrity of a wet kit-kat. Image 1 shows the design effectively replicating what is already there, so it doesn't address Hadden Street at all. The link to Market Street is already there - its literally 3 buildings to the left on image 2. The Green is about 15-20m lower in level than Union Street so connectivity for persons with mobility issues will need to be considered in more detail than a couple of steps and terraces - maybe thats whay the balustrade closes off the one the lost chap is sitting on in image 3. And where the hell are all the folk coming from on the Green? Union Square? After dodging the 6 lanes of cars on Guild Street and walking past the dodgy car parks to get there? At least Kenny's Music will be doing a rare trade in guitars...
Finally, trees, on Union Street? Its aligned East to West and the buildings are 5 storeys high so they must be those trees that dont need natural light. Is is positive to see the mobile phone and vaping shops on Union Street branching out to provide external cafe dining though.
#9 Posted by Jon on 12 May 2021 at 11:27 AM
Nice idea. But will never get built. Why? Because its Aberdeen.... it will just be another bland Halliday Fraser Mundane office development...
Jamie Hodge
#10 Posted by Jamie Hodge on 24 May 2021 at 12:44 PM
This is exactly what Glasgow needs - a high quality fresh food and drink market in the City Centre - the ideal location would be in the Barras, there are number of nondescript buildings there that could be converted or demolished and a major foodie destination created. Potentially in partnership with Time Out - a Time Ourt Market with a range of restaurants and bars would complement the local produce offer very well and help to drive regeneration and investment in the Barras area. And be a great pre-destination for those attending events at the Barralands.

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