Building a controversial office block at the heart of Dundee’s £1 billion waterfront redevelopment is a vital part of the city’s economic regeneration, the city’s top planner has said.
Mike Galloway, Dundee City Council’s executive director of city development, said there is no suitable space in the city centre for businesses seeking to relocate in Dundee.
Mr Galloway, who has overseen plans for the regeneration of the Waterfront, including the construction of the £80.1 million V&A, told the city development committee the office will have room for around 800 employees.
Plans for the development, which are adjacent to the V&A, were approved by councillors in June.
But they sparked a public outcry, with many Dundee residents claiming the block would obstruct views of the V&A from the city centre and detract from the overall redevelopment of the Waterfront.
More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the plans.
However, Mr Galloway said the offices will help create much-needed jobs.
He said: “What we are proposing to do is address the market failure in the centre of Dundee where we have no suitable office space available.”
But Mr Galloway admitted there have not yet been any expressions of interest from companies.
He said: “We haven’t achieved any pre-let. It is very difficult to let off-plan.”
The city development committee has approved the tender of Wilmott Dixon Construction Ltd to build the five-storey block. The work will be sub-contracted to Robertson Construction Group. It will cost £15.5m to complete the building. Construction will start in January and is expected to be finished early in 2019.