Dundee City Council is taking a “big risk” with taxpayers’ money by planning to build an office block on the waterfront, according to a leading property developer.
Tim Allan, director of Dundee’s Unicorn Property Group, said the controversial project would have been too risky for any private developer to take on.
The £15.5 million offices would be built “on spec”, with council bosses hoping that businesses will come forward to rent the space once it’s built and create 800 jobs as a result.
Mr Allan said that despite the gamble he believes the local authority is doing the right thing.
He said: “Over the past ten years we have built large and small commercial property in Dundee.
“The problem with building big offices on spec, without a tenant secured, is that it’s very, very high risk.
“Private sector developers just won’t do that.
“What the council is doing on the waterfront is addressing a gap in the market and I can understand why they’re doing it.
“If a large company or government department wants to relocate to Dundee, they would normally need to wait several years for a space to be built for them.
“But the council is ensuring that if that happens, there would be a space available immediately. It is a big risk but if it works it would create jobs, and that’s what matters.”
Mr Allan admitted that some of the office spaces his company built on the waterfront in 2010 remain half-empty seven years on.
Meanwhile, a property search for office space conducted by The Courier revealed there are currently at least 68 vacant units in the city.
More than 1000 people have signed an online petition opposing the plans for the new building, which would be next to the V&A.
Critics said it would obstruct the view of the new design museum from the city centre and detract from the overall development of the waterfront.
However, the council’s executive director of city development, Mike Galloway, argued that the new project will have room for 800 employees and would therefore create much-needed jobs.
He said that the “lack of suitable office space” was holding back the city’s economy.
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