Bon Accord Shopping Centre

A large covered shopping mall in Aberdeen, the Bon Accord Centre occupies a prominent location in the city centre, extending from Schoolhill and Upperkirkgate, opposite St. Nicholas' Kirk, back to George Street and Loch Street. The Centre extends to 58,814 sq. m (633,058 sq. feet), although much of its bulk is hidden behind existing facades. Costing some £60 million and the work of Aberdeen-based architects Jenkins & Marr, it was officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 and includes an inscribed foundation stone laid by Lord Provost Robert Robertson in June, 1988. The centre was the culmination of twenty years of planning and debate, and made use of the controversial and formidable Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) powers granted to local authorities to permit urban renewal. The developer was London-based Bredero Properties, who sold the Centre to another London-based property company, Land Securities, in 1992. Land Securities own more than forty shopping centres and retail parks across the UK. In 2004, Land Securities entered into an agreement with British Land to share ownership of the Bon Accord and St. Nicholas Shopping Centres, and manage them jointly. The two centres together comprise 69,677 sq. m (750,000 sq. feet) of retail space and share dedicated parking for 1474 cars.

The Bon Accord Centre now comprises 47 shops, outlets and kiosks, arranged over two principal levels and along a sinuous walkway which maximises the length of retail frontages. The anchor stores are Boots, Next (their largest shop in Scotland) and New Look, with a large John Lewis department store occupying a separate building linked by a multi-storey walkway at the rear. This was the former Northern Co-operative Society building, a controversial modernist construction by local architects Covell Matthews 1966-70. Looking much like an enormous space transporter, the building comprises a four-storey ribbed-concrete sandwich with narrow strips of glass between. Extending to 18,580 sq. m (200,000 sq. feet), Bill Brogden reminds us that this is "the building Aberdonians love to hate" in his Illustrated Architectural Guide. The Northern Co-operative Society (Norco) was founded nearby by local residents in 1861, but was liquidated in 1993.

An £8 million refurbishment of the Bon Accord Centre was completed in 2011, adding a replacement food terrace and upgrading walkways and lighting to make the centre one of the most modern and technologically advanced in the country. In 2013, the combined shopping centres were offered for sale at around £200 million.

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