Property Consultants FG Burnett carry out a 6 monthly health check of ground floor occupation on Union Street. The latest results are in and for the first time in several years the vacancy level has dropped in the 6 months since the last survey. This is a snapshot survey and the Aberdeen based firm urges caution in reading too much into the figures given the obvious challenges our main thoroughfare will continue to face.
On the North side Shelter and Nat West have vacated whilst The Print Room, an independent Barber and I Crack Phones have moved in.
On the South side whilst Shuropody and Bank of Scotland have given up their pitch, Attic, Poundland, Gidi Grill, Chicks “n” Wings and another mobile phone independent have opened for business.
The hard facts are that of the 189 ground floor units included in the survey, 43 are vacant at the beginning of February 2023 - 4 down on August 2022. Currently 23% of ground floor units are vacant and we are aware that deals have been concluded on several units which have still to fit out and open for trade.
The loss of two further banks in the past 6 months means that there are now only 9 Banks and Building Societies on Union Street. Of the 8 new entrants only 2, Attic and Poundland could be described as traditional retailers, the others providing a service reinforcing the trend of what you will find on Union Street these days.
Richard Noble, Managing Director at FG Burnett commented on the latest figures:
Of course it’s encouraging to report a drop in empty units on Union Street but there is no way we can say this is the beginning on a new trend, it’s too early for that although we are seeing an increase in enquiries for Union Street with lower rents and rates encouraging businesses to take a fresh look. Many will be disappointed with the nature of the new occupiers but the horse has bolted as far as traditional retail uses are concerned, I would be delighted to see more fashion enquiries but that is not what we are seeing.
He continued “vacant upper floors are a concern. We need to see more coming back into use quicker, with clear signalling to developers that they will be pushing at an open door in overcoming common challenges in relation to planning and building control. I believe that landlords are working hard to attract tenants, we see that every day from the behaviour of our clients. What would assist greatly is some fast tracking of meaningful public realm projects and investment in dealing with the difficult anti-social behaviour challenge that seems to be on the rise in our central area."