It was once home to some of the city’s finest retailers and a place of escape for scores of youngsters.
Now the historic City Vaults is gearing up to welcome its first new business for decades in a marquee year for Dundee.
Brassica will occupy one of the new units created on Shore Terrace, at the rear of the Caird Hall.
But while the owners and council bosses are looking to the future, the venue’s past is not far from the memories of many Dundonians.
A huge range of retailers occupied the arcade and market in the 1960s. This included a florist, butcher, confectioner, fishmonger, linoleum merchant, fancy goods merchant, printers and a number of booksellers.
One of most famous and memorable inhabitants of the City Arcade was Champion the Wonder Horse – based on a character from a popular television series.
Lord Provost Ian Borthwick has fond memories of the venue.
And while he welcomed the new development, the long-serving councillor hoped the eatery would compliment its “high quality” surroundings.
He said: “I would say it is a historically significant part of the city and that whole area in particular.
“Any proposal which brings life back to the city, and is done in a tasteful and appropriate manner, is always welcome.
“I would hope that this development lives up to its high-quality surroundings.
“I am sure it can make a major contribution to developments we’re seeing in the city with the Waterfront and the V&A.
“I remember I used to go down to the arcade and everyone used the rocking horse and all the other things.
“It was very popular at the time and there were certainly a lot of popular retailers that used to trade out of there.
“A lot of people will remember what it was like – that area has always been such a major part of the city. I wouldn’t like to see it brought down in any way so hopefully this new development can be a good addition.”
When built, both the ground and first floors of the Caird Hall were used for retail units.
This was a stipulation put in place by Sir James Caird – the original funder of the project – who believed that retail spaces would be essential to offset the cost of running the hall.
The building was gifted to the-then Dundee Burgh Council.
The McManus now houses Champion the Wonder Horse, which took pride of place in the City Arcade – opened in the ground floor of the Caird Hall from the 1930s.
The City Arcade closed in 1981, having gone into decline when the bus stance was removed to make way for the construction of Tayside House.
It was then used as the main council housing office until the move to Dundee House.
As well as Brassica, St Andrews Brewing Company will also be moving into the City Vaults with plans for a £1 million restaurant.
The company signed a lease for two units in the basement earlier this year.
Brassica aims to offer an informal dining experience similar to restaurants in Copenhagen and New York.
It is expected that 30 people will be employed by the company as part of the new development.
General manager Nikos Matsikas said: “Our staff are really looking forward to welcoming the first customers to Brassica.
“Apart from sourcing as many ingredients as possible within 50 miles, Brassica will also be environmentally friendly, using no plastic.
“I have worked around the world and Dundee is one of my favourite cities.
“I look forward to introducing more people to it.”