Edinburgh department store Jenners is set to ‘return to its former glory’ when it reopens as a luxury hotel with a rooftop bar.
Edinburgh City Council has given permission for the plans, and City Center Borough Councilor Jo Mowat said the redevelopment “done with sensitivity” will give the building a “new lease of life”.
Jenners has occupied space at the east end of Princes Street for 184 years.
The Frasers Group’s previous occupants closed up shop last year, leaving its future uncertain, but AAA United A/S – Anders Holch Povlsen’s holding company – later revealed plans to turn it into a mixed-use building.
The Danish billionaire bought the site for £53million in 2017 and promised to retain the building’s early Renaissance-style facade.
Key elements of the original Jenners store will be retained, such as the central atrium and exterior signage, which the council ordered reinstated last year after it was removed by the Frasers Group.
However, the building will undergo extensive alterations to make way for a 96-bedroom hotel on the upper floors, with a new seventh floor added to the 1905 extension at the corner of South St David Street and Rose Street, which will make the room for a gym, a plant enclosure and a bar on the roof terrace.
In the lower sections, Jenners will remain traditionally used as a shopping destination, with retail spaces and food and beverage outlets from the basement to the first floor.
In a statement submitted with the planning documents, Anders Krogh, Director of AAA United A/S, said, “We understand the scale of the challenge and are fully committed to honoring this building and its place in the future of Edinburgh.
“We knew that one day the Jenners building would be vacant and we would have a moral obligation to restore it to its former glory.
“The original Jenners building will always remain and is the very DNA of our plans, with the redevelopment of a dynamic, sustainable and accessible department store being at the heart of the project.”
The plans were submitted to Edinburgh City Council‘s Development Management Sub-Committee for final approval on Wednesday and councilors unanimously granted permission for the works, along with the change of use and consent to the listed building.
Tory Councilor Mowat said: “I have a deep affection for the Jenners building and am also in the position of having seen the plan of all these buildings as I had the good fortune to put up the Dundas monument before and to look down on that, so improving that is really important for the city.
“It’s great to see a project focused on conservation and the care and attention needed to open up the space and bring in the light.
“Having a building brought back to the use of natural light I think makes such a space enhanced and will allow that to shine, so I really welcome this project – I think it looks very sensible.”
SNP Councilor Neil Gardiner added: “I think the design sets an example of how to repurpose buildings like this, it sorts out the guddle that it is when moving through the building.
“I am also delighted to see this level of investment in Edinburgh city centre. Obviously there has been a downturn in retail around the world and it is good to see that people want to invest in retail retail in Edinburgh.”
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