Work to start on City Hotel and Casino

Construction work is due to start in six weeks at a GBP 27 million redevelopment of an Aberdeen city-centre shopping complex.

The former What Everyone Wants and Poundstretcher site at Shiprow is to be turned into a casino and a 107-bedroom hotel.

Additional space being developed speculatively comprises five bar/restaurant units, 30,000sq feet of office space and a refurbished 400-space car park.

The go-ahead follows Aberdeen City Council’s approval last month of a gaming licence for Rank Group’s casino.

Together with the Ibis hotel, and the existing leisure uses on the opposite side of Shiprow, the casino will act as the £28million scheme’s main anchor for developer Kenmore.

It confirmed yesterday that work was going to start on the development in April.

The firm’s UK head of property, Andrew White, said: „This is great news for our scheme.

„With Vue Cinema, Tiger Tiger and the Maritime Museum immediately opposite, the casino will reinforce Shiprow as a leisure destination in its own right.

„We are already in discussion with potential tenants for the five remaining bar/restaurant units which we expect to be available from early next year.“

The Shiprow buildings at the heart of the Kenmore scheme have been empty since the closure of discount stores What Everyone Wants and Poundstretcher two years ago.

The project is expected to create 400 full-time jobs and 60 part-time posts.

More than 100 of those jobs will be in the Grosvenor Casino, which will have a 16-table casino with 20 jackpot machines, a sports bar, restaurant, card-playing room and a 75-space car park.

Steve Johnson of the Rank Group gaming division, which owns the Grosvenor Casinos brand, said: „Aberdeen has enormous potential for a modern, high-quality, purpose-built casino offering a wide range of activities ancillary to the casino use and we look forward to working with the adjoining operators to establish Shiprow as one of the premier leisure destinations not only in Aberdeen but also in the UK.

Grosvenor is the biggest casino operator in the UK but the new Aberdeen development will be its first in Scotland. The company also owns 14 Mecca bingo clubs north of the border.

Aberdeen City Council leader Kate Dean welcomed the news.

She said: „This is a further strategic step in the improvement of Aberdeen city centre and comes on the back of the recently-approved plans to extend the nearby Bon Accord Centre.

„Together these will reinforce Aberdeen as a vibrant retailing and leisure destination.“

The existing buildings at Shiprow have lain empty for over two years but the new development, owned by the Kenmore Property Group, and designed by award-winning architects Davis Duncan, is designed to breathe new life into the area.