The Dundee Eden Project will open two years later than initially planned, the project’s boss has revealed.
Instead of opening in 2024, the attraction is now set to be ready by 2026.
The former gasworks on East Dock Street will be transformed into the Eden Project’s home in Scotland.
It is estimated the attraction will have 500,000 visitors per year, 200 full-time staff and contribute £27 million in tourism.
David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, spoke about the new timescale at the Courier Business Briefing on Wednesday morning.
“This is a complex project on a post-industrial site, so by 2026 is what we’re saying,” said Mr Harland.
“We take what one might call a site with rich industrial heritage, and we’re trying to reuse what’s there.
“There’s 200 years of industry on that site, so it’s not without its challenges.”
Dundee businesses to get ‘Eden ready’
Mr Harland stressed more than 80% of goods and services for the project will be sourced locally.
“We will even pay more if people can demonstrate why it is that it costs more to source locally or regionally,” he said.
“We’ll announce over the next six months or so a plan as to how businesses get ‘Eden ready’.
“We have certain requirements as every business does, and they will be relatively hard requirements in some cases.
“We’ll start the process as to how that happens over the course of the next few months.”
The Eden Project boss hopes to create an institution that means people stay in Dundee.
That will allow for both economic and social growth in the city.
Building on Dundee’s rich past
Mr Harland praised Dundee for being an honest city and being open about the problems it faces.
“What has impressed us most is the way Dundee comes together.
“You’ve got people actually wanting to be honest about the changes they want to see in the city.
“I really think Dundee has the opportunity to do that, and has got that lovely, rich history.
“But is not resting on its laurels and living off that, it’s saying we want a bold future as well.”
“It’s a city for the 21st century, building on that rich history.”
The next steps for the project are design work and planning to complete over the next 12 to 18 months.
Esports arena more than a venue
Also speaking at the Courier Business Briefing titled Dundee: City of Transformation were Luc Delany and Dundee University principal Iain Gillespie.
Mr Delany is the chief operating officer of Northern Lights Arena Europe, the company behind the plans for the esports arena.
He spoke about the plans for the venue, which has also had to push its opening date back.
“We’re going to need some skilled people to help create these new services, so we’re partnering with educators,” said Mr Delany.
“Were in talks about having a campus on-site so people can get hands on experience in learning the technology.
“Our venues aren’t just a fancy theatre, they are creating sustainable education pathways as well.”
Life sciences innovation hub ‘imminent’
Mr Gillespie, who is also vice-chancellor of the university, is leading the plans for a life sciences innovation district in the city.
Plans for the hub are “imminent”, he said, with work is due to begin soon.
The Courier Business Briefing was held in association with Johnston Carmichael and supported by University of Dundee.
Dundee office head and director of Johnston Carmichael Jenn Stewart said it was fantastic to be involved with the briefing.
“Hearing directly from the people behind the plans really brought the concepts to life and it was very encouraging to hear the timelines for progression,” she said.
“These projects truly will transform Dundee, generating jobs and investment in the city as well as helping to retain talent, all of which will have a hugely positive impact on local businesses and the economy.
“There is certainly much to look forward to.”