Dundee looks set to be the home of a major tourist attraction, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
Bosses of the Eden Project, which has brought £2 billion into the economy of Cornwall, have set their sights on the City as Discovery as their first Scottish location.
The education and environment charity has a “global garden” in tropical biomes across a space the size of 30 football pitches in the county – and in 2017 revealed plans to create Edens across the globe.
Now, after months of research, a study is to be launched to find a site in Dundee for Eden Project Scotland.
It is not yet known where in the city the attraction will be, or what it will include, but David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said Dundee’s history and culture will be used to develop a vision for the project.
“Dundee is a city with a fabulous vibrancy and feels like a place that’s really going somewhere but also has a lot of history,” he said.
“At Eden we like places that want to reinvent their future and Dundee is well on the road to doing that.
“The feasibility will assess what is possible for Eden in Dundee. Is there a story we can tell? We are an educational charity so we need to find what we can teach then look at locations and see what would work best, not just for us but the people who live there.”
Talks on the project have been ongoing for almost a year and the feasibility study is to be launched early next month.
But Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project and executive chairman of Eden Project International, was clear a future project in Dundee will be entirely its own and not a replica of the Cornwall site.
“We don’t like copying ourselves,” he said.
“What you’re not going to get is Eden Cornwall in Dundee. That would be boring and would cheapen both projects.
“We want to make a wonderfully creative exhibition of something which is unmistakeably Dundee.
“The city has a very good university, a cultural background, it has become a tech hub. I’m very excited about Dundee, it has all of the ingredients to make magic sauce.”
As well as running major tourist attractions, the Eden Project offers educational programmes and outreach projects and will work with Dundee City Council, Dundee University and the Scottish Government on the project.
Mr Harland said: “I think it’s fair to say there are pockets of deprivation and quite difficult circumstances for a lot of people in the city.
“A big part of our education and outreach is bringing hope to these people. We want to work with the people of Dundee to find out what they want and make sure they know it is their project and they’re not having it done to them.
“There could be nothing worse than us just coming in and plonking something down. We will be spending a lot of time in the city and talking to people from the city to find the stories to tell and find out what experiences people want to have.”