Halving your vacancy rate…?

There’s a really striking #highstreet statistic in the latest update about Union Street, Aberdeen.

📉 It says that the headline vacancy number there which had empty units totalling in the mid-40s at the end of 2022 is now in the 30s and potentially into the 20s – halved…? – by the end of this letting season.

This at a time when nationally the rate is stuck (at around 14%).

So why is Aberdeen seeing such a dramatic drop…?

Regular readers will know that since our Wantage town team project started in 2013 and empty units number reduced from 23 to 3 in 18 months, I’ve increasingly strongly believed that vacancy is tackled quickest and most sustainably when the place – agents, landlords, businesses, community, council(s) and BID where there is one – work on this together.

Aberdeen has that…

🎤 The BID commissioned our ‘audit, engage’ tackling vacancy approach and, with partners, set up what proved to be a really powerful Union Street Summit;

  • The Council launched an Empty Shops Action Plan which included a significant tackling vacancy grant scheme, recently doubled in size to reflect uptake, and has just awarded funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to support Aberdeen Inspired on an upper floors study to address another key issue;

🎨 Agents and landlords have re-focused on the challenges: getting more of the long-time empty #property onto market, investing, trying #popupshop options, selling to new owners with wider scope to move things forward;

🛍️ New #retail and #hospitality businesses have moved in, existing traders have expanded;

  • The Our Union Street group – having started with a huge #community engagement and involvement initiative – are innovating with a major incentives package to encourage lettings, a volunteer-led empty unit refresh project and support for would-be new occupiers by using tech to imagine how their unit could look (the focus of the latest update which is well worth a read);

🗞️ The local paper – which positively supported the Summit and the various steps since – has been running a series of upbeat articles on incoming and existing businesses on the street.

💡There’s more too, and it’s all making Aberdeen a beacon…

..an illustration that vacancy is not something we need be stuck with, that we know how to tackle it. Seriously, we do.

Hopefully it’s the clearest of messages to other places with headline vacancy rates in the 20 per cents and high teens.

If that’s your place, do please get in touch…!

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