New AECC will have major impact on North-east economy

A new multi-million pound exhibition centre will have a “major impact” on the North-east economy, a council co-leader claimed.

As reported in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Express, work on the new £333 million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bucksburn has now passed the halfway mark.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing hailed the project, during a tour around the facility yesterday.

She added: “I think it’s really great when you can come on-site and see the progress we’re making here.

“It’s a major investment by the city council but we believe it’s money well spent because we’re trying to diversify the economy.

“We want to provide a facility that will encourage bigger and better exhibitions and conferences and also opportunities for local people to see entertainment acts they maybe haven’t seen before.

“We believe it really is a regional facility and it will have a major impact on our economy in the years to come.”

The new AECC is due for completion in 2019, in time for the Offshore Europe event in September.

“It is hoped the centre, which is located near Aberdeen International Airport, will attract major artists and events, while anchoring existing events in the city.

Cllr Laing said: “We will open the exhibition and conference centre in 2019, it will be ready for Offshore Europe.

“I hope we will be attracting big names here as well which will help to boost our tourist economy here too.”

The main building, which will contain the arena, exhibition space and conference centre is expected to be wind and water tight next month.

The new site includes four multi-purpose conference rooms and 15 meeting rooms while there are also hospitality boxes included within the main arena.

It has a capacity of 12,500 with an exhibition space of 6,000 sq m – four times the size of the space of the current AECC at Bridge of Don.

Construction is also under way on the Hilton Hotel which adjoins the new AECC and a new Aloft Hotel located just north of the Hilton site.

The centre is being built by Aberdeen City Council alongside Henry Boot Developments, with the Robertson Group as the main contractor.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “It’s quite impressive when you see the scale of it.

“SMG (chosen operator of the site) will be marketing the site and getting acts on board to play at the arena.

“I’m confident that the new arena will have no problem attracting acts.”

Nigel Munro, regional project manager at Henry Boot Developments, said: “We are well past halfway now and we are on programme. So if we get a decent run of weather in the next few months, we should do pretty well over the summer period.”

Mr Munro said the workers on the site are currently focusing on finishing both the construction of the walls and cladding around the buildings.

He added: “Both hotels are due to be complete at the end of March next year and they are both on programme earlier.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the second half of the project unfold.”

It is expected the venue will contribute an extra 4.5 million visitors to the city and £113m of visitor spend as well as £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy.