Groucho’s was once the music lovers’ Mecca of Dundee, where people hunted for the latest release or vintage vinyl record to add to their collection.
After its closure in September last year, four decades of trading came to an end for Groucho’s record store in Dundee’s Nethergate – famously run by the late Alastair ‘Breeks’ Brodie, who died in 2019.
But now plans have been submitted by the building’s owner to turn it into a bar, restaurant and takeaway, in the hope of leasing it to a new tenant.
Bar with public dining area
The B-listed building’s location is “ideal” for the night-time economy, owner Iqbal Jamal said.
The design statement submitted to Dundee City Council by well-known local architect Jon Frullani states: “The proposals seek to make alterations to the premises, including a change of use from a class 1 shop into a class 3 food and drink with takeaway facility.
“To the front of the premises, there will be a bar with a public dining seating area.
“Private dining areas to the ground floor area and mezzanine level with an open kitchen and toilets.”
Multi-national companies interested
Mr Jamal, director of JPW (No7) Ltd, bought the property around four years ago, when Groucho’s was still trading.
He said that with the closure of the store and the coronavirus lockdown, the timing has not been right to try and lease the property out, but he now hopes to find a suitable tenant – with applicants including “multi-national companies” already showing an interest.
Speaking today, Mr Jamal said: “The plans cover anything in the food and drink trade, so a restaurant, bar or café, anything like that.
‘Ideal for a food and drink business’
“I don’t run any food businesses in the town, [the application] is for renting purposes.
“The location is ideal for a food and drink business. If it was to be something like an office it’s not ideal because of things like parking problems in town. Because it’s right in the city centre.
“It could be suitable for something else, though. If we found someone who wanted to use it for something else then that could be considered for planning permission.
“I wouldn’t say it’s only suitable for food and drink, it’s suitable for other purposes.
‘Up to the new tenant’
“We’re not limiting it, we’re just applying for planning permission, thinking food and drink is the best use to be able to rent the property out as soon as possible.
“If someone came up with a different idea then it will be up to the new tenant to apply for the planning permission.”
Mr Jamal said the property came into his company’s ownership with the bosses of Groucho’s record store still the tenants, and was aware of the building’s sentimental history for the people of Dundee.
BT office block planned to the rear
The area to the rear of the property is also set to become extremely busy, with plans in the pipeline for a five-storey BT office block which will house around 1,000 workers.
Mr Jamal continued: “We’ve had quite a few interested parties, but I think the delay has been because of Covid.
“Now that things are opening up, our estate agent has already received a few inquiries – a few positive inquiries.
“If it is a different kind of trade like food and drink then obviously it will have to be fully refitted to suit the particular trade.
“The restrictions are easing off now, things are opening up and we have already had a few positive inquiries.
Retail a possibility
“There have been a few in other trades as well, not just food and drink. A couple of them were multi-national companies.
“Obviously I can’t say too much at this stage, but it has mainly been food and drink and some retail as well.
“Obviously we want to see it rented out as we own it, but we also want to see all properties in the city rented out, no one likes seeing empty shops or units.”
Council planners will make a decision on the application in due course.
After its closure, some former staff members from Groucho’s went on to open Thirteen Records in Dundee’s Union Street.