Naming of contractor boosts EICC expansion

THE planned expansion of the Scottish capital's main conference centre has been given a major boost with the scheme's bosses moving to appoint a contractor for the development.

Sir Robert McAlpine is set to be named as the principal contractor for the 80 million makeover for Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

EICC Ltd announced its intention to go ahead with the appointment subject to approval from its board and the City of Edinburgh Council.

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The news came after the scheme – which includes a separate commercial office development – was granted full planning consent by the council.

The expansion scheme will allow the EICC's banqueting facilities to cater for up to 1,800, compared to the current 850, while the underground area will also be able to be turned into a 1,600-seat auditorium.

The new facilities are expected to help generate an extra 50 million a year for Edinburgh's economy.

Business leaders and council bosses welcomed the plans to appoint the contractor as a major step forward for the development.

Scottish Enterprise regional director Linda McPherson said: "We are pleased to see the expansion project reach this important milestone and will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure successful delivery of the facility."

City Council leader Jenny Dawe said: "Additional high- quality conference space at the EICC is essential for Edinburgh to retain and enhance its business tourism reputation and to bring more world-class conferences and events to the city."