Proposals to bring a skyscraper to Dundee Waterfront have been given a warm reception from the public – but the council has warned that the project faces“important challenges”.
As revealed in yesterday’s Tele, InverTay Homes has unveiled plans to construct the building, which the company claims could bring £200 million of investment to the area.
At 462ft, the skyscraper would become Scotland’s tallest building, complete with a five-star hotel, luxury flats and a conference centre.
Dundee City Council has described the Discovery Heights proposals –which have not been formally submitted to the local authority – as “an interesting concept”.
However, it is already in negotiations over a different project with another developer at Site 12, where the skyscraper would notionally be built.
A spokesman for the council said: “While we are keen to find out more about this interesting concept, such a project would face a number of important challenges.
“All proposed development at the Waterfront is guided by the Dundee Central Waterfront Masterplan, which also forms part of the city-wide Local Development Plan.
“It sets out the land use strategy and guides decisions taken by council officers and the planning committee.
“The scale of a large development such as this may not be appropriate in this context, as well as the question of its proximity to aviation flight paths.
“Dundee City Council has previously agreed an exclusivity agreement at the site and negotiations are ongoing.”
Nevertheless, business owners in the area said the project would be another boost to the economy.
Steve Barney, owner of The Cheesery on Exchange Street, said: “If it looks good, if it makes the Waterfront look good, if it doesn’t cause too much disruption and if it creates jobs and a big boost to Dundee’s economy then I think it’s a good thing, as long as they don’t make it look too ugly.
“If it brings more people into Dundee then it’ll create more footfall and hopefully people will go into the centre of town and support other Dundee businesses as well.”
Claire Simpson, owner of Simpsons Cafe, added: “The location could be better.
“You would think a better location would be picked, but where is the better location? That’s the thing. I think we’re all hoping for an increase in footfall as businesses.”
Sandy Edmonds, visiting from Fort William, said: “It looks good, but it maybe dominates the V&A too much.”
Ian Brown and partner, Mari, tourists from Ayr, said: “I think it looks OK and complements the V&A.”
Meanwhile Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce praised InverTay Homes’ vision.
She said: “It’s great to see private developers coming forward with investment plans for the Waterfront.
“InverTay has been investing in residential developments in the wider area for a number of years, so seeing the level of ambition in this project is welcome.
“Our city needs a flexible, larger-scale conference centre than the current provision allows for, so this piece of the development is particularly interesting.
“The Waterfront needs projects which will employ a significant number of local people during the build, and in the long-term via the businesses that will occupy the sites.”
Sam Wittmann, 29, a youth worker from Dundee.
“With job creation and bringing tourism, it sounds good. It doesn’t look too bad to me. I hope it’ll bring more visitors to Dundee – we need to try new things, don’t we? Dundee is definitely getting a much better reputation and keeping building on that would be great.”
Mary Moran, 41, a student from Leven.
“If it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the area, then I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s a really nice design, innovative, stylish and cosmopolitan. I think it’s going to fit in with everything being done at the Waterfront. It’s very forward thinking.”
Scott McCrimmon, 30, a freelance in general construction from Kirriemuir.
“I’m not a fan. There are plenty of luxury apartments around the place. I think the Waterfront looks nice just with the V&A – I don’t want to go too overboard with that. If we are going to build more houses, it should be affordable rather than luxury houses.”
Pauline Lamb, 66, retired, from Monifieth.
“No, I’m not in favour of it. But the jobs are a plus. However, there could be ways round it without putting it next to the V&A. Dundee is going down the road of tourism and the service industry, so they need to get it right, because we don’t have much manufacturing jobs left.”