Turner & Townsend lands AECC construction programme management role

AECC Central SquareGlobal construction consultancy Turner & Townsend is to play a key role in programme managing a masterplan development which includes building of the £333 million new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).

The 105,000sqm complex, due to be completed in time for the Offshore Europe Conference in 2019, will include a 9,000sqm 12,500-capacity arena, which has the flexibility to double up as an exhibition hall.

The AECC includes an adjoining 4-star hotel, with a further two hotels located adjacent to the main building, which will be developed within the first phase. The masterplan for the site allows for future development of up to 60,000sqm of offices and 6,000sqm of leisure.

The new facility will be fully serviced by an energy centre and anaerobic digestion plant. This will provide a sustainable source of power, heat and cooling for the complex, along with the two further hotels. This will also supply an income stream that will help cover the cost of the development.

The AECC, which will be located off the A96 adjacent to Aberdeen International Airport, is expected to attract an extra 31,000 business tourists a year to Scotland and lead to an additional visitor spend of £11million per annum.

Turner & Townsend, which was chosen for its strong track record in successfully completing similar schemes, will be working for specialist property developer Henry Boot Developments Ltd who are partnering with Aberdeen City Council on this scheme.

The consultancy will project manage the first phase of construction and be responsible for the overall programme management of the masterplan, which will be built out on the site of the Rowett Research Institute at Bucksburn. The Institute is relocating to another part of the city.

Andy Outram, director for Turner & Townsend, said: “We have supported Henry Boot throughout the whole bid process with the city council and we’re looking forward to being a crucial partner in delivering this state-of-the-art public facility, which will compete on a world stage.

“Over the next three years, our role will be to overcome numerous challenges including construction so close to the airport, diverting large scale utilities and repositioning three existing watercourse to create a new park.”

Nick Harris, director for Henry Boot Developments, added: “Turner & Townsend has already proved its credentials as an expert partner, and we now look forward to working with them to build a centre that will play an invaluable role in driving sustainable economic growth for the area.

“The Bucksburn masterplan will deliver excellent architectural, urban and landscape design, providing a venue which is a key element of the business structure needed to promote Aberdeen as a World Energy City and the Energy Capital of Europe.”

The announcement comes as the council revealed it has signed legal agreements for the facility this week.

AECC legal agreementsCouncil leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, was joined by Nick Harris to put pen to paper on a number of documents, including development agreements, a profit share agreement and auxiliary land agreements.

Cllr Laing said: “I am delighted to mark another important step in the process of delivering a new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

“This will be an important facility not just for the city, but the whole north-east region, and will attract bigger names in the entertainment world as well as larger conferences and events to Aberdeen.

“Investment in this type of infrastructure project is also a key part of our Regional Economic Strategy to safeguard the future prosperity of the north-east area.

“It will help us to realise our ambition of securing Aberdeen’s position as a World Energy City – competing not just within Scotland or the UK, but on a global scale.”

Mr Harris added: “We are very pleased with the progress on the new AECC, which is such a landmark project for the North East and indeed the whole of Scotland.

“We look forward to starting the construction of this exciting project in the New Year.”

Financial arrangements to reduce the cost to the public purse of the development were agreed at Full Council in March.

Officers identified a range of income streams, including the hotel, car parking and energy centre, which are expected to reduce the cost of the facility to an estimated average of £100,000 per year over the life of the 35-year strip lease.

At the end of the lease agreement, the council will be entitled to purchase the AECC development, including the land, for £1.

The annual subsidy paid for the existing facility at Bridge of Don will not be required for the new AECC, saving the council £1.3m per annum.

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