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Local firms begin work on South Street landmark building

Local firm LDN Architects have been appointed to oversee the transformation of one of Elgin city centre’s landmark buildings.

The multi-million-pound makeover of Gordon & MacPhail’s South Street shop is now underway as they begin the process of creating a unique whisky experience.

And the architects are working with another local firm - quantity surveyors McLeod and Aitken – as the company continues its tradition of using local companies.

Stephen Rankin, Director of Prestige at Gordon & MacPhail and fourth generation member of the family owners explained their choice: “As a business firmly rooted in the north of Scotland we are always keen to use local service providers and contractors whenever we can. It’s a goal that’s made easier by the range of great local businesses across Moray and the Highlands.

“Around 90 per cent of the work to complete The Cairn – our newest distillery at Grantown on Spey - was completed by contractors based in the north of Scotland. It’s an approach we’re keen to maintain with this project.”

Scaffolding has been erected around the South Street shop as the first stage of the work is to repair and renovate the external stonework on the building which is almost 130 years old. It’s a specialist task which is being carried out by Laing Traditional Masonry. The scaffolding is shrouded in debris netting and the pavement has been closed on a temporary basis to keep people and vehicles safe.

And as Stephen Rankin highlighted: “The building is completely empty now for the very first time since it opened in 1895 which is strange to contemplate. It’s always been the spiritual home of Gordon & MacPhail and will remain so when we open it up for visitors in 2024. We hope the creation of this new tourism experience will be a boost for Elgin city centre, particularly as so many of the visitors to this part of the world are here to enjoy our iconic national drink.”

LDN Partner & Conservation Accredited Architect, Pinny Muir added: “We are delighted to be working with Gordon & MacPhail to deliver their Experience project in its Category B-listed historical home. This is a significant project for the conservation area of Elgin and the wider region.

“We have been working with Gordon & MacPhail for a number of years and take the opportunity to say thanks for the continued and invaluable support the company continues to give to our local business”.

While work is carried out, the contents of South Street have been moved to secure storage and a new Gordon & MacPhail shop will open on Elgin High Street, at the entrance to the St Giles Centre next month.

The work at South Street will take more than a year and involves a complete refit of the ground and first floors, transforming the space into a must visit destination for lovers of whisky.

The new attraction will incorporate displays, tasting rooms and a liquid library of some of the world’s rarest whiskies.

Visitors will hear more about the important role of grocers in the evolution of the Scotch whisky industry and Gordon & MacPhail’s journey from a humble provisions merchant to internationally renowned whisky experts and distillers.

In addition to the South Street premises Gordon & MacPhail have their main office and warehousing in Boroughbriggs Road in Elgin, as well as Benromach Distillery, Red Door Gin Still and Experience and warehouses in Forres and The Cairn Distillery near Grantown on Spey.

Female builder on scaffolding