Jenners' plan will help Edinburgh's Princes Street shine again as one of the most beautiful streets in the world – Donald Anderson
The closure of Jenners department store was a crushing blow for Princes Street.
The store and building have both been much loved in their current form for well over 100 years. As with many Edinburgh residents, I have treasured memories of visiting the store, especially as it’s where my mum worked for many years.
The closure, when it came, was still a shock, but there was still cause for optimism as the building’s owner Anders Povlsen brought forward proposals to bring new life to this magnificent building.
The new proposals include a hotel on the upper floors, restaurants, and cafes – with retail being retained on the lower floors. They were unanimously approved by Edinburgh’s planning committee last week.
The plans are magnificent, and the assurance from Anders Povlsen that Jenners would “retain its DNA”, is the latest in a succession of good news stories about Princes Street.
The store’s central atrium will be retained and many of the other changes look like improvements in what was described by one leading councillor as a “conservation-led project”.
The new building will enhance the setting of the internal features and will see new light shine through the old windows of the Edinburgh’s “grand old lady” of retail.
It's a triumph of urban regeneration and has happened astonishingly quickly as it’s a little over a year since Jenners closed its doors.
That’s the latest piece of great news for Princes Street following a succession of proposals that will bring new life to this important thoroughfare being approved.
The Johnnie Walker Visitor Centre has replaced Frasers, BHS is set to become home to a new fashion shop, what was New Look is now home to Princes Street’s first ground-floor restaurant, and Debenhams is being repurposed as a new upscale hotel.
Princes Street is being regenerated and all that needs to happen to make it better is to see more investment of the kind we’ve seen over the last few years. Its best days aren’t necessarily behind it, and it can again shine as one of the most beautiful and busiest streets in the world.