New AECC shaping up to be among the ‘best in the world’

Aberdeen’s new £333million exhibition and conference centre will be open by next autumn and could compete with “the best arenas in the world”, according to the city council’s leadership.

Work is now well under way on the ambitious new development at Bucksburn, which will replace the current facility at Bridge of Don.

The centrepiece building of the new venue, which will contain a new 12,500-capacity arena, exhibition space and conference centre, is expected to be wind and water-tight in two weeks.

It is hoped the centre will be completed and ready for Offshore Europe next September.

Yesterday the council’s co-leaders Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden toured the construction site and met with representatives from Henry Boot Developments, the council’s partner in building the new venue, as well as primary contractors Robertson Group.

Mrs Laing and Mr Lumsden were shown the expansive new arena space, and were told how the venue’s roof has been designed to both prevent noise from helicopters from the nearby airport interrupting performances, and to stop loud music from leaving the venue.

The council estimates the new building could bring in millions of pounds and visitors to the Scottish economy every year.

Mrs Laing said: “It’s great to get on the site and see for ourselves just much progress has already been made.

“We believe the new AECC will make a tremendous impact on the local economy.

“It’s been designed to attract much bigger and better exhibitions than we’ve previously seen in the north-east, and also the bigger entertainment acts that the people of the north-east want to see.

“I think when this opens it will be competing with some of the best arenas in the world.

“We’re confident that we’ll be able to attract those big acts and put on much larger concerts, and I really think people in the north-east will embrace it.”

Nigel Munro, regional project manager from Henry Boot Developments said: “We really are at a fascinating stage now here at the new AECC site, where the shapes of the new buildings have now become clear and things are changing very quickly from week to week as work continues to progress well.

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

Project nearing completion

Work is now past the halfway stage on the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), and many parts of the project are now nearing completion.

Balconies have already been erected overlooking the new 12,500-capacity arena, and acoustic panels are being installed along the roof to help create the best music environment possible for performing artists and bands.

Elsewhere, groundwork has been put down for the new exhibition space, which will be about four times larger than the same area at the current AECC.

Contractors have spent the past few months hard at work on the new 200-room Hilton hotel, which will be complete with bars, restaurants and spa facilities.

And although much of the site is still soaked in puddles following last week’s weather, it is hoped the new facility’s main building will be watertight and windproof next month.