Construction group Henry Boot today said it has reached an unconditional agreement with Aberdeen City Council for its new £333 million exhibition and conference centre.
The Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC) development, which will be funded by the council and will also feature a four-star hotel and energy centre, received detailed planning permission at the end of last year.
Located on the 130-acre former Rowett Research Institute site near Aberdeen International Airport, the scheme will include a 12,500-capacity performance venue, covered exhibition halls, a 200-bed Hilton hotel, energy centre and 2,500 parking spaces.
The initial phase of the project will provide more than 800,000 square feet of space and includes a development agreement for another hotel – a 150-bed venue to be operated under the Aloft brand.
Elgin-based Robertson Construction has been appointed as the main contractor to deliver the project, with completion expected in the first half of 2019. During the construction phase, some 600 jobs will be created, including a number of apprenticeships.
Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson Group, said: “Robertson has had a base in Aberdeen for over 25 years so we understand the local area. We will focus, where possible, on local employment, the local supply chain and working in partnership with the communities in the local area.”
Henry Boot chairman Jamie Boot said: “It is very pleasing to see the larger commercial development schemes we have been preparing for some time now finally on site.
“We remain mindful of the challenges facing our industry after the result of the EU referendum – taking into consideration this current market backdrop, we maintain a cautious outlook and as such the board’s expectations remain unchanged.”
Henry Boot Developments has also secured planning permission for a further 400,000sq ft of business park space on land next to the AECC, to be developed jointly with Aberdeen City Council.
Once completed, the new AECC is expected to attract an extra 4.5 million visitors over ten years, generating about £63m for the Scottish economy. It will also result in the creation of more than 350 permanent jobs.
Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “Following on from the sod-cutting last month, it is great to see the new AECC progressing as it’s a key part of the one of the biggest regenerations in the history of Aberdeen.
“Work on the site should really advance now that a contractor has been appointed and it will be exciting to see the development take shape over the coming months. The new AECC is a vital part of ensuring Aberdeen can compete on a global basis with other major cities and also for its future prosperity as it will attract bigger names in entertainment, as well as more international events and conferences.”