Store plan

Jenners revival boost to faded Princes Street

Grand saloon at Jenners
The historic features in the store will be retained

A restoration plan for the former Jenners department store in Edinburgh has taken a major step forward after the building’s owner, Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, was given the go-ahead by the city council.

The upper floors of the 184-year-old department store will be converted into a luxury hotel featuring a rooftop bar while the lower part of the famous building will be turned into a modern shopping destination.

Work is under way to strip parts of the interior – although its most historic features will be retained – after the previous owners, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, left last year. The restoration is expected to take around four years.

AAA United A/S is the holding company for Mr Povlsen who bought the building for £53 million in 2017. The plan includes retention of the building’s distinctive Renaissance-style frontage while converting the interior for modern use.

Key aspects of the original store will also be retained such as the central atrium and iconic Jenners sign, which the council ordered to be reinstated last year after it had been removed by Frasers Group. A seventh floor will be added.

In the lower section, Jenners will remain in traditional use as a shopping destination with retail spaces and food and drink outlets from the basement to the first floor.

Jenners sign
Faded glory: the store has become an eyesore on Princes Street (pic: Terry Murden)

The Jenners project will be a welcome shot in the arm for Princes Street which has suffered from the opening of the St James Quarter and the flight of shoppers online.

However, the opening of the multimillion pound Johnnie Walker visitor centre has helped with the revival of the West End and Flannels is taking the refurbished former Bhs store.

In a statement submitted with planning documents for the Jenners building, AAA United A/S director Anders Krogh said: “We understand the scale of the challenge and are fully dedicated to honouring this building and its place within the future of Edinburgh.

“We knew that one day the Jenners building would be standing vacant, and we would have the moral obligation of bringing it back to its former glory. We do hope that we can build support to fulfil this highly important task.

“This project seeks to secure the future of the Jenners building for generations to come. The original Jenners building will always stay and is the very DNA of our plans, with the redevelopment of a vibrant, sustainable and accessible department store being the heart of the project.”

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