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28 November 2017

AECC work continues to progress

AECC work continues to progress

New images have been released showing the progress of the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).

The £333 million development, at Bucksburn, is currently being built and is scheduled to open in 2019. New images show the current stage of development, including new cladding on the west side of the hotel, which is nearing completion and on the east side which is progressing with 'window pods'.

 AECC construction progress Aberdeen

They also show the steelwork and roofing works of the exhibition centre, and how they are coming along.

 AECC arena construction progress

The nearly 540,000 square foot development will offer exhibition space, conference facilities and three hotels.

Aberdeen City Council is building the facility in a joint collaboration with Henry Boot Developments, with the Robertson Group employed as the main contractor.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: "I'm really pleased with the progress that's been made with the whole of the development, not just the arena but also with the hotels. I think it will be a really important asset for the city. We are hoping that it will give us the opportunity to bring bigger and better things to the city. It's a big commitment. We believe it is the right way to diversify the city."

Situated beside Aberdeen International Airport, it will provide four times the space available at its current site in Bridge of Don. The existing AECC currently has a capacity size of 8,500 for standing concerts, and 4,750 for seated concerts.

The new development will increase the maximum capacity to 15,000 and it is hoped it will not only host existing events – like Offshore Europe – but will also attract new national and international events to the Granite City.

It will also help to bring more major music artists and events to the city by broadening the appeal of the North-east.

Within the next decade, it is estimated the venue will contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors and £113m of spending to the area by 2025.

The AECC will generate 600 new jobs during the construction period and is expected to create 352 full-time equivalent permanent positions by its 10th year of operation.

It was announced last week the venue would be the one of the greenest in the country, with a state-of-the-art heating system being installed. The AECC arena will benefit from hydrogen fuel cell technology, which will deliver clean, sustainable and reliable energy for the entire 150-acre site. The three cells, which are the largest in the UK, were provided by UK energy engineering specialist Doosan Babcock. They will have a total electrical output of 1.4 megawatts – on a par with the largest fuel cell installations in Europe.

Work on the internal operations of the site has also gotten underway recently, with a new boss having been appointed ahead of the 2019 move.

SMG Europe announced Nick Waight, who recently led the team delivering a new £10m conference venue in Birmingham will take up the position of managing director of the AECC in April.

John Sharkey, executive vice-president of European operations, SMG, said: "Nick brings with him a wealth of skills and experience in both operational and commercial management which are the perfect fit for both the existing and new AECC."

The new Bucksburn venue is an important part of Aberdeen City Council's plan to grow the Granite City economy.

It is expected to be open in good time to host the 2019 Offshore Europe Conference and Exhibition, which is held at the Bridge of Don venue every two years.