Fresh new images have shown the options being considered for ambitious plans to keep Aberdeen FC in the heart of the city.
Local authority officials have come up with a series of options which would see the Dons remain close to their traditional home as part of a “visionary” masterplan for the area.
Ahead of the meeting of Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee next week, documents have been published which show the authority is considering three possibilities for the regeneration of the Esplanade.
Two of those include a state-of-the-art new stadium for the Dons, which would be integrated with a refurbished Beach Ballroom and improved leisure facilities.
The plans are part of radical proposals for a masterplan designed to regenerate the area around the beach.
Stadium part of wider beach plan
Council chiefs are understood to be keen for any new stadium to be part of a wider sport and leisure offering which would restore the beach’s status as a key attraction in the city.
All of the options put before the committee will include either improvements to existing facilities or completely new ones, along with a greater selection of hospitality offerings to encourage people to remain in the area.
Under the first option, a new stadium with a capacity of between 18 and 20,000 would be constructed next door to the current Beach Leisure Centre, which would be upgraded along with the ballroom.
Links would be created between the leisure facilities and the Linx ice arena, while the existing cricket pitch would be relocated to the site currently occupied by King’s Links Golf Centre – land owned by the city council.
The second option would see all the existing leisure sites apart from the Beach Ballroom demolished to create an entirely new development, which would also include hidden parking to free up space at ground level.
No new stadium is included in the third of the options, which again involves the construction of a completely new leisure development with hidden parking.
“The existing beachfront site has a variety of disparate leisure facilities that are all owned and operated either directly by the Council or commissioned directly through Sport Aberdeen,” council papers read.
“There are three core options for redeveloping the leisure facilities on the existing site. Two involve retaining and refurbishing the Beach Ballroom and a new stadium build for Aberdeen Football Club.
“Both options are with varying ideas for retention or rebuilding of new facilities for the leisure and ice arena components. The third option is retention or rebuilding of new facilities but with no new stadium.
“It should be emphasised that the integration of the sites is key.”
Esplanade site for new ground
That was despite planning permission already existing for a new stadium at Kingsford, where the club opened its new training complex in 2019.
At that point authority chiefs said the most likely site would be land occupied by the Doubletree Hotel on Beach Boulevard, which closed last year.
However, the latest plans see the proposed site relocated to the Esplanade.
Under recommendations to councillors ahead of the meeting, they will be asked to instruct staff to produce full business cases for each of the options which would then be reported back at the committee’s next meeting in November.
A club spokeswoman said: “Aberdeen Football Club remains supportive of the council’s ambitious vision for both the city centre and the beachfront. We’re really impressed with both the scale and pace of the work to date.
“A new stadium at the beach, as part of an integrated approach to leisure and community amenities, is very exciting and we will continue to input constructively to the various consultations and studies which will inform the final plans.”