A historic department store building in the heart of Aberdeen could soon reopen as a pub, restaurant and traditional pizzeria as part of £500,000 plans.
Esslemont and Macintosh opened in 1873 and occupied a space on Union Street from the 1920s until it closed in 2007.
The ground floor was most recently occupied by Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant but has lain empty since the business closed two years ago.
Now plans to give the listed building a new lease of life have been lodged.
McGinty’s Group, which already runs several pubs and eateries in the city, hopes to open a 130 seater bar and restaurant on the lower floor and a pizzeria above.
The move is expected to create 70 jobs, and bosses hope it will entice more people into the struggling city centre.
The pizzeria will boast an authentic large pizza oven which will be custom built and will focus on using top quality ingredients to create simple, well made pizzas which will be prepared fresh daily.
Downstairs, the bar and restaurant will focus on local produce. The group aims to create a relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere with an all-encompassing stylish menu that will embrace the new surroundings.
McGinty’s director Allan Henderson said he was inspired to revive the site after being impressed by nearby developments such as the Marischal Square office and retail complex.
Mr Henderson said: “The Esslemont and Macintosh building is an Aberdeen institution and a landmark that was calling out for some local love.
“As a group, we have a passion for regenerating iconic venues and transforming them into thriving outlets – so this project fits perfectly with our company objectives.
“Following the significant investment Aberdeen City Council has made with the redevelopment of Broad Street and the building of Marischal Square, we have been impressed with the transformation of this part of the city centre.
“And we are keen to bring a high quality local offering to the area.”
Operations director Alan Aitken said he was excited to be involved in the project to rejuvenate one of the city’s “most recognised buildings”.
He added: “The people of Aberdeen have fond memories of this site and we are looking forward to reviving it with a high quality and stylish transformation which we hope will help continue the regeneration of this area of Union Street, encourage footfall and create employment opportunities in the heart of the city centre.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of city centre improvement group Aberdeen Inspired, said the building’s rebirth would contribute to ongoing efforts to boost trade along the Granite Mile.
Mr Watson said: “We all understand the current challenges to the high street and the need for us to work together to deliver on our aspirations.
“To a great extent, this is predicated on business confidence, and this significant investment from a local operator is a great example and a real boost to our city centre.”