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Bruce Millers plans 13 years after Aberdeen music shop closes

todayNovember 27, 2023 8

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Plans have been lodged for work on the old Bruce Millers music shop, which could ultimately give the long-vacant Aberdeen institution a new lease of life.

Local hospitality firm PB Devco, which owns The Howff pub under the store and the Motif beer garden to its rear, has lodged proposals for the unit.

Bosses want permission to clear it out, making it “accessible”.

And blueprints indicate this is for a “potential retail or commercial use” in the future…

Why is Bruce Millers shop so significant to Aberdeen?

The music shop dates back to 1900, when it was established on George Street.

It expanded over the years before moving to Loch Street and finally Union Street in the 1980s.

Bruce Millers on George Street.
The store on Union Street, years after its closure. Image: Heather Fowlie/DC Thomson

Over the years the “pillar” of the high street added a restaurant at the upper level.

But it closed following “several years of financial losses”, with the Evening Express at the time lamenting the “sad end to a Union Street icon for generations”.

How long has it been empty for?

It’s one of the longest standing empty units on Union Street, having been unoccupied now for almost 13 years.

It comes after previous £15 million plans to demolish Bruce Millers to build a nine-storey hotel fell apart.

Bruce Millers plans have been lodged
Bruce Millers in 2010. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

After that, developers launched another ill-fated bid to revive the site – this time as flats, offices or a shop.

The former music shop was put on the buildings at risk register in 2019.

At that point, the roof of the weathered former emporium was said to be “in very poor condition”.

The famous Bruce Millers clock is a beloved local landmark:

So what do we know about the proposals?

PB Devco bosses have been tight-lipped about any potential plans for the site, opting not to divulge any more detail on the proposals.

Blueprints indicate that old office space on the first floor would be converted for storage.

Motif at the rear of the old Bruce Millers shop, which has a music-inspired name in homage to the Union Street institution. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson  

Meanwhile, a temporary alcohol store would be built in the former music shop’s footprint, with the space “cleared and made accessible”.

And new ventilation grills also point towards a fresh start for the shop.

The documents state: “Existing space to be opened up to allow re-use as retail/commercial unit.”

Bruce Millers plans come at interesting time for Union Street

But it comes at a time when renewed efforts are being made to fill the Granite Mile’s many empty units.

Aberdeen City Council is offering grants to businesses looking to do up empty units, and the Our Union Street taskforce is offering other incentives.

How the Bruce Millers shopfront looks today. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

What would you like to see happen to Bruce Millers? Let us know in our comments section below


Only the old Budz Bar, nearby on the Granite Mile, has been out of use for longer than Bruce Millers.

But earlier this year, plans were put forward to transform it into a major entertainment mecca, with ultra-modern crazy golf, a cocktail bar and restaurant.

Our city centre tracker details all the latest on the empty units in Aberdeen.

You can see the Bruce Millers plans here.



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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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