Developers behind the contentious Marischal Square scheme in Aberdeen have claimed the major construction project has already generated tens of millions of pounds for the local economy.
The £107million Broad Street project is due for completion next month with a number of tenants already signed up for the complex, including Costa Coffee, All Bar One, Prezzo, Marriott International and Mackie’s Ice Cream.
Aberdeen Journals, publishers of the Press and Journal, remain in talks about moving to the new building.
The city centre development has proved controversial with criticism focused on the loss of the view of the historic Marischal College building and the financial risk to the council from the project.
Under the complex PFI-type deal the council struck with developers Muse, the authority will pay the developer £5million a year for 35 years and keep the rates generated.
After the time period has elapsed, the council can buy the site for £1.
However, Muse Developments’ regional director for Scotland, Stephen Turner claimed around £28million had already been invested in the city.
He said: “Even against a background of a tough economic climate, we have seen a significant increase in the number of viewings and expressions of interest around the Grade ‘A’ office space available at Marischal Square as the development nears completion.
“Local businesses have also benefited significantly through the support contracts, associated with building a project of this scale, with most recent estimates placing that figure in the region of £28 million.
“Marischal Square has the potential to make a long-term impact on the local economy, especially as it is vital the city has the right mix of office and commercial space to respond to the challenges and opportunities it faces from the changes within the oil and gas sector.”
Opposition SNP group leader Stephen Flynn, a long-term critic of the venture, responded that local businesses had already been affected by the closure of Broad Street.
He said: “While I’ll always welcome contracts going to local businesses, we need to be mindful that this represents little over a quarter of the £107million cost of this project, indicating the vast majority of the work was commissioned from outside the city.
“We’ve all been told that some of the nearby businesses have suffered massively as a result of road closures and I sincerely hope the road is reopened by October 8, as the those businesses have been promised.”