New AECC to open in ‘summer 2019’

Tour of the TECA arena, the new AECC and hotels. Nigel Munro, Regional Project Manager for HBD in Scotland.
Tour of the TECA arena, the new AECC and hotels. Nigel Munro, Regional Project Manager for HBD in Scotland.

Aberdeen’s new exhibition centre will open next summer and could put the city on the map as a “cultural destination”.

Developers have revealed the £333 million project will be open by next September at the very latest and say construction is “approaching the finishing line”.

The Press and Journal can today reveal how the inside of The Event Complex (TECA) is taking shape – with city leaders and developers hopeful it will become a “must play” option for entertainers coming to Scotland.

The exhibition and conference centre complex also includes two hotels and a fuel cell energy centre.

With around 900 staff working on the development, the majority of the main structural work has now been completed on the main arena, which will have capacity for 12,500 people.

Aberdeen City Council’s co-leaders Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden yesterday toured the enormous facility with representatives

from developers Henry Boot Developments (HBD) and the main contractor, Robertson Group.

Last week, it was revealed that Russell Howard will be the first comedian to take to the TECA stage.

But with the opening period of “summer 2019” now set in stone, city council chiefs hope even more big names could soon be confirmed for the venue’s first season of performances.

The local authority funded the development – which is predicted to eventually create 352 full-time jobs – through the pioneering £370m issue of a bond on the London Stock exchange, a first for a Scottish council.

Mrs Laing yesterday insisted the project would be complete in time for Offshore Europe 2019 on September 3 next year.

She said: “It’s great to be back at this complex and see just how far the build has progressed, and it’s seriously impressive.

“We’re announcing our summer 2019 opening date, because we want to make sure it’s ready for Offshore Europe.

“The investment we’ve made is significant, but we are confident the facility will bring increased business and leisure tourism to the north-east, and meet the needs of local residents by bringing a much wider range of entertainment acts to the city as well.”

The city council believes TECA and the AECC site will bring in an additional 4.5 million visitors a year to the region, with £133m of visitor spend at £63m net gross value added to the Scottish economy.

Nick Harris, director of HBD, said that with a total capacity of just 500 fewer than Glasgow’s SSE Hydro’s 13,000 – and more than double the current AECC’s 4,750 seating capacity – he hopes the development at Dyce will put the north-east on the map as a cultural destination.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the way it’s going. The contractors have been doing a fantastic job and as far as we’re concerned everything is on track and we’re now approaching the finishing line.

“The facility, coupled with the accessibility offered by the airport and the upcoming Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, the two on-site hotels and more, will really make it one of the best venues of its kind in the country.

“This will truly be an impressive venue, and I hope Aberdeen residents will agree with me when they see it finally open next year.”