Signing of legal agreements on AECC development

Aberdeen City Council has today (Monday) signed legal agreements for a multimillion-pound new exhibition and conference centre for the north-east.

Council Leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, was joined by Nick Harris, Director of the local authority's development partner Henry Boot Ltd, to put pen to paper in the Bruce Room in the Old Town House.

Planning permission for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) – including an energy centre and a 200-bedroom hotel – was granted by the council's Planning Development Management Committee on December 10.

The new AECC will be part of a wider £333million complex on the site of the Rowett Research Institute at Bucksburn. It will provide four times the current exhibition space and increase the seating capacity from 4,750 to 10,000.

The attraction, which will be located off the A96 near Aberdeen International Airport, is expected to secure an additional 31,000 business tourists to Scotland and lead to an additional visitor spend of £111million per annum. It is due to open in late 2018.

Today, Aberdeen City Council and Henry Boot Ltd signed 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 (AECC).

"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, Director of Henry Boot Developments, said: "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 £1.3million per annum.