A pizza restaurant described as “integral” to the transformation of Dundee City Centre when it opened has “temporarily” closed leaving all staff jobless.
Project Pizza on Reform Street closed earlier this month with a sign placed on the door claiming it is “closed for refurbishment until further notice”. No visible work is being carried out.
Employees at the chain were reportedly informed they had lost their jobs just an hour before their shifts were due to start. Some are believed to have already found jobs elsewhere.
All staff were offered positions at new Project Pizza restaurants due to open in Glasgow soon as well as being promised positions in Dundee after the refurbishment.
Owners and management had failed to respond to a request for comment for several days, simply replying that it will be shut “for the foreseeable future” but there is a “possibility” it will reopen.
However a spokesperson for the eatery claimed it would definitely reopen under new management.
He said: “I can confirm that the restaurant is now closed for refurbishment, as it was starting to look tired.
“We have taken the opportunity to carry out these works whilst the students are on their break, and expect to have the works complete and ready for re-opening under new management for their return in August.”
Originally named Project Pie when it opened four years ago, it was one of the first food outlets to arrive during efforts to rejuvenate the city thoroughfare, once described as Dundee’s Savile Row.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The Courier newsletter
Andy Baxter, partner at architects Nicoll Russell Studios, who were commissioned to design the original plans, had said the restaurant would be “integral to the transformation of the centre of the city”.
John and Susan Canavan and Niall Howard opened the franchise in the former Santander building in February 2015, employing 21 people.
Despite the branch’s popularity, fears were raised it could close in early 2017 after part of its parent group went into liquidation.
However, at the time, Mr Canavan said there were “no plans to close” and said only one restaurant in the London borough of Bromley would close due to it “being in the wrong location”.
The Dundee branch was the company’s first foray into Europe, having started in San Diego, California.
It now has a number of outlets across the UK, including two more likely to open soon in Glasgow.