Dundee managing director John Nelms has expressed his frustration that the financing for the club’s new stadium is still not in place – however, he insists he is confident it will happen sooner rather than later.
The Dark Blues chief and fellow American club owner Tim Keyes are looking to relocate from the historic Dens Park to a new ground off the Kingsway, close to Camperdown Park.
The stadium would be only one piece of an ambitious project that is set to include a hotel and even a crematorium.
However, Nelms admitted that Scottish football’s chequered financial past had made it difficult to attract financing for the stadium. He is though determined to overcome those obstacles and is hoping that the project will finally receive the green light and also bring a major jobs boost to the city.
“There are a lot of things happening with the stadium.
“I met with our development team on Tuesday and they had re-scoped a few things with the city staff because of the time it has taken, obviously longer than we expected.
“We have done that and everyone is going back out to make sure we have all the information we need. We are still waiting on the financing piece before we press the button to let everything go.
“We are doing economic impact studies and things of that nature.
“The project itself, according to the government numbers, will create about 469 full-time employees. That doesn’t include all the construction employees.”
As well as jobs, Nelms hopes the project will bring financial benefits to the city as a whole.
He added: “The football stadium itself is what is causing us problems when it comes to the financing.
“Everything else is just normal, a piece of cake and we can get that done.
“So we are really focusing on finance. We are trying to work with the city the best we can on that and the best they can work with us.
“Things have changed a bit but the economic impact on the city is a really big deal. We think it is really important that we continue to push this and try to make it happen.
“We can see that every £1 spent on construction will generate a wider economic impact of £2.84.
“That is a really big number for Dundee, especially where we are at the moment, it is important that we bring as many jobs as we can to Dundee.
“We will get some regeneration, some excitement. We are excited about the waterfront and we have to continue that vibe and not let it wane.”
Nelms admitted that he is even careful when talking about a “football” stadium because of the connotations associated with that use.
He said: “Tim and I are very committed to it but it is just taking a lot longer than what we expected.
“We really thought this would be in the ground already and be talking about moving into a new ground.
“But the initial financing of the stadium is the major hurdle. If it wasn’t a stadium, we would be down the road already.
“The stadium itself, just because of what happened with football and finances…I don’t really call it a football stadium very often, I call it a multi-use stadium because the connotations that banks and lenders have with football.
“So, we have options and they are being presented to us. We are trying to work through them but even then we have big groups looking at this and it is much more complicated than just building a strip mall or something of that nature because of the amount of scrutiny that it goes through.”
Nelms admitted he is looking for financial investment both here and abroad.
He said: “Yes, on both counts. Some of the companies we are talking to are international, massive massive companies – insurance companies, things of that nature.
“Your local bank branches wouldn’t touch it with 10 barge polls tied together.
“Stadiums are being built all over England but there is a lot of participation with the city councils.
“There has been help in various different manners in how they can get this through.
“However, I am confident in wanting to make this happen sooner rather than later.
“All the groups we are talking to are working their hardest to try to make it happen.
“The city can make it easier on us if they are willing to do a little bit and that would make it happen much quicker.
“We are looking at other options as well but we will continue to go down this path until we exhaust all our options.
“We will not stop until we hopefully get it built.”