Invertay takes Dundee to new heights with ambitious 39-storey tower concept
A Dundee development firm has unveiled its vision for what would be the tallest building in Scotland on the city’s waterfront.
Invertay Homes said its 39-storey Discovery Heights concept would create the ‘Sydney Opera House of Scotland’.
Under the plans, the 462ft tall tower would house the city’s first five-star hotel alongside a 2,800 space conference centre, rooftop skybar, serviced apartments, offices, a visitor centre and retail facilities.
The ambitious development would generate up to £200 million into the Dundee economy and create almost 1,000 permanent jobs brought to the area.
Edward Wighton, director of operations at Invertay, told Scottish Construction Now that Discovery Heights fulfils his dreams of what could be achieved with the moral support of local and national government as well as the backing of Dundonians.
He said: “The V&A was ambitious and most Dundonians didn’t expect that to happen. Unless you have ambitious ideas you are never going to achieve anything ambitious.
“We’ve talked to potential investors all over the world who are excited by the scale of the project, the development’s waterfront location and the city of Dundee itself.
“The buzz around the city has helped open doors and people want to be involved in Dundee.”
Designed with input from local architect Fraser Middleton from ARKTX, the complex is planned for Site 12 of the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront development project.
While the development brief for Site 12 suggests that any potential development should be “bold and ambitious”, it also dictates that the buildings should be between five and seven storeys in height.
It reads: “Site 12 commands a very prominent location within the central waterfront development and will be highly visible from a number of key locations in and around the waterfront area. Alongside the V&A Museum of Design, the building will help redefine the riverfront edge and act as an additional gateway building to the city when arriving via the Tay Road Bridge.
“Site 12 will also act as a counterpoint to the V&A, helping to define the central open space. As such, a bold and ambitious design will be required to reinforce the city’s ambitions as an emerging international city and to provide a distinctive entry to the city.”
The development brief adds: “The buildings facing Waterfront Place should be five or six storeys in height while buildings formed within plots C and D should be the highest to support the sense of scale desired at the gateway point to the city when arriving via the Tay Road Bridge.”
Mr Wighton conceded that while the proposal may fall outside development brief in some aspects, it is inside the requirements in many others.
“Given the economic benefits the development would bring in terms of investment and employment, if we were to move things forward we are sure we can make a positive case in favour of our plans,” he said.
“International investors bring international companies and contacts. We want to create the tallest building in Scotland but this project won’t just be the creation of an exceptional landmark, it will also bring multiple benefits to the local area and local people.”
At 141m, Discovery Heights would dwarf Kengo Kuma’s recently completed V&A Museum, the Tay Road Bridge and Glasgow Tower, Scotland’s current tallest building at 125m.
Mr Wighton added: “Our next step is to move towards a formal planning application and in order to do that we need to carry out various investigations of the site itself from an engineering perspective and make sure the conceptual building can be made a reality.
“We will then move towards detailed design in terms of the architecture.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander has said the proposal does not conform to the local authority’s plans for the waterfront nor to the city-wide development plan.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Alexander said: “I won’t pass comment on the actual proposal but this is news to me. In fact, it’s news to all of Dundee’s councillors.
“There is absolutely no planning application in for this.
“It does not conform to the Waterfront Development plan. It does not conform to the city-wide development plan.”
He added InverTay has no agreement in place for development on Site 12 and pointed to a pre-planning application notice already in place for the site.
The proposal of application notice, submitted by Keppie Design on behalf of Dawn Developments Ltd, details plans for a £60m mixed development including offices, hotels, housing and ground floor commercial units with parking and associated works.
Mr Alexander added: “The whole thing seems like an absolute fantasy at this point.”