Aberdeen's historic Esslemont and Macintosh building to go under the hammer for a second time

The long-lost department store now houses a restaurant and bar
The long-lost department store now houses a restaurant and bar -Credit:Google

Aberdeen’s historic former Esslemont and Macintosh department store will be going under the hammer for a second time next week.

It is hoped a buyer can finally be found for the iconic yet derelict site, after a previous attempt to sell the buildings last month was unsuccessful.

The prominent site, found at 26-38 Union Street, is being sold by Future Property Auctions through a timed online sale. Opening bids for the “highly attractive” property start at just £356,000.

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The entire city centre building previously sold for a whopping £6.24million back in 2007. Should it sell, the successful bidder will take ownership of the upper floors, basement and part ground floor of the Union Street site.

It is estimated that the sale will include almost 40,000sq ft of floor space across the two former retail units. The buildings are linked by a corridor on the third floor which goes over St Catherine’s Wynd.

Auctioneers claim the site has “huge potential” and suggest it could be “suitable for 64 residential flats”. However, any plans to transform the site into new apartments would have to be approved first.

Esslemont’s Bar and Restaurant, Mac’s Pizzaria and the Miller and Carter Steakhouse will not be included in the sale.

Esslemont and Macintosh was once the go-to store for Aberdonians and was a city centre staple for 134 years. The popular department store shut its doors for the final time back in May 2007 after the company went into administration.

More than 100 jobs were lost as a result. But there have been multiple opportunities to transform the city centre site since.

Aberdeen-based C&L Properties submitted ambitious plans to turn the former store into a 96-bedroom hotel just a year after it closed. Councillors approved the proposal but the project never came to fruition.

However, the same developers lodged another hotel plan for the site in 2014. Their updated project would have seen the site re-open as a 98-bedroom facility.

But again, work was never carried out on the building and the plan was later dropped. Five years later, the McGinty Group unveiled its plan to bring a bar, restaurant and pizzeria to the ground floor of the former shop.

The former Jamie’s Italian eatery was replaced by the Esslemont’s Bar and Restaurant that is still welcoming customers today.

The auction has been set for Thursday, May 2 and any potential bidders will have from 10am to 3pm to submit their best offers.