Supermarket giant Tesco is in discussions with the council as the company looks to take over a unit at Dundee’s railway station, the Tele understands.
In a period of upheaval on the city’s high streets, Sports Direct is also poised to close its Overgate store as it prepares to move to the Murraygate unit occupied by the supermarket chain until last year.
It is understood Tesco is in advanced talks with Dundee City Council over one of the Waterfront units at the railway station.
Both the supermarket chain and the local authority have declined to comment on the discussions – but those with knowledge of the negotiations say they appear to be at an advanced stage.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are always keen to explore potential new sites for Tesco stores.
“We will be keen to update the local community if we do develop plans for a new store in Dundee.”
It is thought the council’s aspirations of attracting a known brand to the station concourse have been partially responsible for the delays in finding tenants – along with the stipulations it is placing on those coming to the Waterfront, such as an insistence companies pay staff the “unofficial” living wage.
The confirmation of Tesco moving into the station would take care of one part of the Waterfront for Dundee City Council, which has faced questions over the empty units since before the station opened in July 2018.
Shopping rivals Sainsbury’s had been among the first to enter into negotiations with the council to occupy the station unit.
However, it later opted to open a store on Perth Road, free of the Waterfront’s rules.
The West End unit had previously been occupied by Eros Retail, trading as Greens.
It too had expressed an interest in the railway station, but last month pulled out of negotiations citing difficulties with the council’s property team.
However, council sources have suggested that due diligence checks on Eros Retail’s finances had given them pause for thought. Eros has not commented on this suggestion to date.
The Tele has also learned that businessman Christopher Ireland – currently banned from acting as a company director – had also approached the council about the units.
Tesco has been scoping out new sites in Dundee after it was forced to leave its flagship Murraygate store in November last year.
Negotations between it and landlords Sports Direct fell apart earlier in 2019 after the sporting goods retailer bought the unit in 2017 for £3.5 million.
In the meantime, Sports Direct is preparing to relocate to the newly acquired building before the end of the year, leaving its Overgate unit barren.
The firm’s bosses have indicated the new store will be more modern and welcoming than the firm’s past warehouse-style offerings.
No jobs will be lost in the move, with those currently employed in the Overgate continuing seamlessly in their duties at the new shop.
However, it will leave one of the shopping centre’s most prominent units – which looks out onto the Nethergate and the Steeple Church – conspicuously empty.
The search is on at the Overgate for a new tenant.
Malcolm Angus, manager of the centre, said: “We are aware of this – as yet we do not have an exact date of vacation.
“We are actively making market enquiries to attract a retailer.”
A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “Marketing is ongoing and we continue to have discussions with a number of parties.”
Sports Direct has been contacted for comment.