The company behind the new £185million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre proposed for a site near the city’s airport have revealed they expect to start building work as soon as 2016.
But Henry Boot, which was selected last year as the city council’s development partner for the Bucksburn venue and the redevelopment for the existing site at Bridge of Don, has cautioned that preliminary planning stages will “take some time to resolve”.
John Sutcliffe, group finance director for the Sheffield-based firm, said yesterday that the project was “large” and “complex”.
Henry Boot is gearing up for a second round of public consultation events on both sites in September.
Mr Sutcliffe said he did not expect negotiations between the city council and the Scottish Government over funding plans to add further delays.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said last month that it could be closer to the end of the year before any commitment could be finalised.
Mr Sutcliffe added: “It will take some time to bed down and get agreement about the funding package, the planning process, and what the local authority wants, then running the actual development contract side of it, to get the right construction people to undertake the work.
“There’s lots of individual parts to bring to a conclusion, but there are no issues that are causing us any grief.
“We have a very good relationship with the local authority.
“Hopefully we understand what they want out of the proposals.”
He added that the contract was “a big fish in our pond”, adding that the firm was “working really hard to make sure it works well”.
“For us, it is a really important contract. We need to make it happen,” he said.
The council’s finance convener Willie Young said a business case would be brought before councillors in December.
He said: “The business case must stack up, and if it does, then the council will make a decision about how we plan to move forward.”
Consultation events on the new proposals will take place on September 11 from noon to 8pm at the Jesmond Centre, Bridge of Don; September 12 from noon to 8pm at the Beacon Centre, Bucksburn; September 13 from noon to 5pm at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Schoolhill. From September 15 to 26, information will be displayed at Marischal College. The closing date for submissions is September 27.