Calls have been made for Dundee City Council to double down on efforts to fill vacant units at the Waterfront after a seemingly surefire retail deal fell through.
Greens of Dundee – the trading name for convenience store firm Eros Retail Ltd – said yesterday that it was pulling out of a plan to occupy a unit at Dundee’s new-build railway station entrance.
The firm – which had spoken optimistically of inking the deal as recently as earlier this month – said its plans for a £350,000 shop in the station had been met with a cool reception from Dundee City Council.
A statement released on behalf of the firm said: “It is with heartfelt regret that we have reached the conclusion we will no longer be progressing with the retail unit at Dundee Railway Station.
“We have met various deadlines set by the Council as well as initiating over 60 communications over the last two-and-a-half years.
“Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the same level of engagement from the Council and are disappointed they have not entertained various requests to meet directly and get the project on track.
“It is regretful that the Council are unable to support a local, independent business with an ambitious vision for both the site and the Waterfront development as a whole.”
The council has not commented directly on Eros Retail’s claims. It is yet to say why talks broke down.
A spokesman said: “Council officers and our agents Rydens are continuing discussions with parties interested in becoming potential occupants of the units at the railway station.”
Local figures have called for the council to hunker down on efforts to find tenants for the station – which opened nearly 18 months ago – as soon as possible.
Liberal Democrat councillor Fraser Macpherson said: “I am anxious to see the retail unit at Dundee Railway Station occupied as soon as possible.
“It is really important that the city has a thriving retail unit at such an important entrance to the city.
“I am therefore again raising this matter with senior officers at Dundee City Council to get reassurance that every effort is being taken to secure a retailer for this opportunity at the rail station to ensure the retail unit is occupied as soon as possible.”
Alison Henderson, CEO of the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said the units were”crying out” for occupants following the news V&A Dundee brought over £21 million to Dundee’s local economy in its first year.
She said: “The V&A has published some brilliant figures and we can see by the number of visitors it’s going to be incredibly busy when the Mary Quant exhibition arrives.
“The train station is a fantastic facility and it’s crying out for these units to be filled.
“I wouldn’t have been happier than if it could have been an independent in there. That would’ve been a win-win, as they’re the ones investing and doing things differently. They carve out an identity for the area.
“But it’s not easy because retail is going through all sorts and retailers are all looking at their business models. It’s a perfect storm, because we need to capitalise on that footfall.”