Edinburgh’s famous Jenners building is set to undergo a major transformation.
However, the iconic brand could disappear from its Princes Street home after 181 years as the store undergoes a restoration that includes the addition of a hotel, cafes and a rooftop restaurant.
The building’s owner, Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, and David Chipperfield Architects want to return the Victorian building to “its original glory and quality”.
One of the highlights of the restoration will be the central atrium – a three-storey, top-lit grand saloon which will be “returned to its former splendour”.
The revival of the building could provide a boost for Princes Street, which saw the closure of BHS in 2016 and House of Fraser in 2018.
However, it is still to be confirmed whether Jenners department store – now owned by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct – will remain or move out of the building as early as next year, ending an association with the property that dates back to 1838.
A spokesperson for Povlsen’s real estate company said the department store was a “vital future part of the project”.
They stated: “We have a constructive dialog and coordination with the present tenant about how this is done in the best manner.
“We have up until now done our utmost to let the tenant stay in the building by offering them favourable terms. If they should end up not wanting to continue, it is unfortunately not our decision.”
A spokesperson for Jenners added: “We confirm that we have not served notice to leave the Jenners building, and it is very much business as usual whilst plans develop on the refurbishment of the building.”
Work is expected to begin in 2021 and project manager Anders Krogh said: “It’s important for us to underline that our plans do not mean closing down Jenners. Our project is to strengthen the Jenners building.
“The iconic Jenners building will always stay and is the very DNA of our plans. In the same way as the department store is a vital future part of the project.
“The starting point is renovation and development of the fantastic buildings with the aim of creating the best possible framework for future users and safeguard the future of the buildings’ outstanding heritage.
“The project is first and foremost about helping to preserve a unique historic building in Edinburgh.
“We are pursuing the project because we have a passion for architecture and historical buildings.
“Already when we acquired the building, we knew that it came with a great deal of responsibility.
“Jenners is an iconic building in Edinburgh, and we take the responsibility of renovating it very seriously.”