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A gaping hole left in Oban’s busiest street after the popular Kitchen Deli shut down last year is about to be filled by a 100-seater burger restaurant and ice cream bar.
The venture is being brought to George Street by multi-business owner Paul Sloan who already has the Waterfront Fishouse restaurant, Cuan Mor, Oban Bay Brewery and Ranald Hotel.
Elsewhere across the town, shops and hotels are also investing in refurbishments, which Bid4Oban chief executive Andrew Spence says is good news.
The new Premier Inn in Shore Street is due to open next month, Oban Bay Hotel is being revamped and what was the Rowantree Hotel in George Street is due to open next month as The Scot after being fully refurbished, and it has started taking bookings for its 24 ensuite guestrooms.
Callum McLeod, who owns Eeusk and Piazza on the North Pier, bought the former Rowantree Hotel from the owners of the Oban Inn last November. He had been planning to build a new hotel on the site of the demolished Argyll Hotel on the Esplanade.
Mr McLeod’s wife Andrea said the family-run business has ‘stripped and emptied’ all the Rowantree rooms with plans to give a nod to Oban’s history in The Scot’s new-look lounge, putting black and white images on the walls. Piazza has also just had a refurbishment, including a new bar.
‘Callum and his dad always loved to bring more people to Oban and give them the best of Oban and this is what Callum is continuing to do,’ she said.
Workmen are also busy inside the former Oban Bay Fish Bar and Restaurant in George Street turning it into two new retail units. Clothing retailer Fat Face is believed to have shown interest in taking one of the units but there has been no confirmation from the store’s headquarters.
Over in Oban Retail Park, Argos has just had a full refit, and work is ongoing at the Rockport Hotel in Tweeddale Street, better known as The Woody. When it last shut its doors, five jobs were lost. It is understood it has been bought by a former director of a Glasgow-based wine distributors who has plans to turn it into a boutique hotel.
Mr Spence said: ‘This is all a good news story for Oban. The fact that all these significant investments are being made in the town shows there’s lots of confidence in Oban.’
He also said it was ‘great to learn that something different is coming to town’: ‘We wish Paul Sloan every success in this venture,’ he added.
Mr Sloan said all the legal work was nearly concluded and Gelatoburger, with 15 different types of burgers and cold beer included on the ‘affordable’ menu, should open around May ‘all things allowing’.