Construction work begins on Aberdeen’s new exhibition and conference centre
Work to create a world class new exhibition and conference centre for Aberdeen and the north east began with a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.
Aberdeen City Council and its joint venture development partner Henry Boot Developments Ltd broke ground on the multi-million pound project which will also include an innovative energy centre and three hotels on the former site of the Rowett Research Institute at Bucksburn. The project is set to bring an extra 31,000 business tourists to Scotland.
Generating 600 new jobs during the construction period and 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations, the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is a key element of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan to grow and bolster the Granite City’s economy.
The new arena and conference centre has a strong role to play in delivering the Regional Economic Strategy, by anchoring existing international events and competing nationally and internationally for new events, as well as by broadening the appeal of the North East to a global audience.
Over the next ten years, the new exhibition and conference centre is expected to attract major artists and events to the city, and contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy. It will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena. It is due to open in 2019.
Council leader Jenny Laing said: “The City of Aberdeen is currently undergoing one of the largest regeneration programmes in its history and it is fantastic that work has now started on the AECC which is a key part of Aberdeen City Council’s overall Strategic Infrastructure Plan. The new venue will ensure that Aberdeen retains events such as Offshore Europe which brings £140m to the local economy, and the significant economic benefits they bring, while securing new events for the city. It will provide a step change for the future by providing a modern and fit-for-purpose facility, which will be the most sustainable of its kind in the UK.
“The new AECC is a vital facility that will ensure Aberdeen can compete not just with other Scottish and UK cities, but with other global energy capitals. It will attract bigger names in entertainment, and more major international events and conferences to the north-east region and I am looking forward to watching the new building take shape over the coming months.”
Nick Harris, director at Henry Boot Developments, said: “This is a very exciting moment for Henry Boot Developments, and for everyone else involved in what is a hugely significant project for Aberdeen and the North East. We’ve worked very hard with our design team to ensure that this new facility will be a world-class leisure and business destination, and starting work on site to turn these plans a reality is another major step forward.”
He added: “As well as being a place for the people of the North East to be entertained, this new facility will also be a key element of the business structure needed to promote Aberdeen as a World Energy City and the Energy Capital of Europe, and will provide a strong platform for sustainable economic growth for the area.”
Scottish Enterprise has contributed £10m towards development of the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Infrastructure director at Scottish Enterprise, Allan McQuade, said: “Today marks a significant milestone for Aberdeen and the North East, which has faced some considerable challenges following the downturn in the oil and gas sector. We are pleased to support Aberdeen City Council and its development partner, Henry Boot Developments, with their significant investment which aims to put Aberdeen on the global stage for international events and bring much needed jobs and investment to the area.”