Concerns have been raised over a lack of activity at a major Waterfront development which was meant to have started construction in 2018.
The Studio Dundee development is a joint venture between Dundee City Council and Our Enterprise Ltd, a firm that works with local authorities to create new developments.
The modern development has been designed to retain city graduates with attractive accommodation and space in which to work, and will replace the Yeoman Shore off-street car park opposite Thorntons Solicitors. It is known within the Waterfront masterplan as Site 2.
However, while the development was initially approved by city planners in October 2017 and a start date of summer 2018 was announced thereafter, no work has yet taken place on the site.
Project bosses announced a revised start date of the “second quarter” of 2019 – suggesting sometime between April and June last year – but as the Tele went to press the car park continues to operate and there is no indication of work starting anytime soon.
Opposition group leaders in Dundee City Council say they have had no update on Site 2 for several months, and attempts to contact Our Enterprise for comment by email were bounced back. The firm has released no further details of the development since November 2018.
The delay could be linked to the Tay Cities Deal which is yet to be fully signed off. Around the time of the last update – when new images of the development were teased – the Scottish Government committed £3 million of investment in the Studio Dundee project.
Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said he “didn’t get much of a response” when he made enquiries with council officers about the project, while Conservative leader Derek Scott said he had been given no updates as of late.
Lib Dem Fraser Macpherson has vowed to seek assurances over the status of the project. Administration leader John Alexander was contacted for comment.
The local authority itself has deflected questions from the Tele on the start of Site 2. A spokesman for the council instead pointed towards the work happening at Waterfront Place alongside V&A Dundee.
Councillors have approved a £6 million package to create the “urban beach” development, which will also include a £1 million interactive digital playground for children in the shape of a whale.
The council spokesman said: “A planning application has been approved by the council for the development of Site 2, which is between Yeaman Shore and South Marketgait and is currently in use as a temporary car park. Site survey works have now taken place.”
Several aspects of the Waterfront project – scheduled to carry on up to 2031 – have been subject to delay in recent months.
In September, councillors agreed to defer expenditure on a luxury hotel project on Site 6 opposite V&A Dundee into the 2020/21 financial year due to delays in finalising the building’s business case.
Likewise, elected members were told in November that the city centre public wifi scheme will also be pushed into 2020/21, or April at the very earliest.
Meanwhile, work is yet to start on a convenience store within the entrance to Dundee railway station.
Eros Retail – which trades in the city as Greens of Dundee – won approval to sell alcohol in the store in August, but is still to have its lease for the store approved by the council.
The unit is no longer being marketed for rent by estate agents Ryden, suggesting a deal could be imminent.
Harris Aslam, director of the Fife retail firm, said last week: “We have great confidence in the council’s decision-making process and look forward to a resolution soon.”