This week, Dundee’s first major Waterfront office building was shortlisted as one of the country’s top workplaces – despite the fact it has lain empty for nine months.
Regional judges from the British Council for Offices (BCO) are visiting the Earl Grey Building at Site 6 next week after the building was considered for its Commercial Workplace award.
The corporate gong recognises “the base build” of office blocks – but in light of this curious nod the Tele has doled out some awards of its own for other similarly dubious Waterfront projects.
Without further ado, we present The Shammies: a line-up Dundee’s most inspiring and exciting projects – if they ever take off.
Retail Award: Dundee Railway Station
Opened in July 2018, Dundee’s railway station boasts two highly attractive retail units – one with permission to run as a shop, the other as a cafe. More than 18 months down the line, neither has been occupied.
The Tele this week reported on discussions between supermarket giant Tesco and negotiators at Dundee City Council.
These discussions come weeks after Green’s of Dundee – the first solid-looking bid for a station unit since opening – pulled out after failing council due diligence checks.
Food and Drink Award: Slessor Gardens Pavilion
The winner of our food and drink award is a prominent cabin in Slessor Gardens built in October 2018 by the council with the intention of running it as a cafe.
However, 16 months on, no operator has yet been revealed.
Initial reports that the pavilion was costing £4,700 a month to run have since been clarified – at present, the pavilion costs £65 a month to power and maintain.
Public Art Award: Andy Scott’s Bowhead Whale
Famed Scottish sculptor Andy Scott – behind the iconic Kelpies statues in Falkirk – approached Dundee City Council last summer with a plan to create a statue for Dundee’s Waterfront.
The staggering life-sized sculpture of a whale and her calf, designed with Dundee’s whaling industry past in mind, was dreamt up just for the city.
However, Mr Scott never heard back from the council, who he said “ignored” his pitch.
He later gave up on trying to bring the statue to the city, noting: “I still think she would have been a magnificent addition to Dundee’s cityscape.”
Entertainment Award: Greenmarket Cinema
In March 2018, developers Crucible Alba Group revealed plans for a leisure complex on vacant land at Greenmarket, to the rear of Groucho’s.
The development was tipped to boast a nine-screen multiplex cinema, restaurants and a hotel.
Since then, Crucible Alba has secured investment for, and built, a Travelodge hotel at South Gyle in Edinburgh.
But to date, the Greenmarket site remains conspicuously empty. Sources indicated to the Tele this week there was “not a great deal of confidence” in Dundee at present.
Entrepreneurial Award: Studio Dundee
Tipped as one of the most innovative developments at Dundee’s waterfront, Studio Dundee at Site 2 on Yeaman Shore is a business space designed with university graduates in mind.
Dundee City Council and partners Our Enterprise promised the building would boast affordable rent flats and ‘co-working’ spaces for feisty young businesses to grow in the city, with construction set to start in summer 2018.
A revised start date of the “second quarter” of 2019 was then announced – but the Yeaman Shore car park the building was set to replace remains in operation.
Technology Prize: Waterfront Wi-Fi
In 2017, the Tele reported on an announcement by Dundee City Council that free public Wi-Fi would be introduced to the Waterfront at around the time of the V&A’s opening in 2018.
A month before the museum opened, West End councillor Fraser Macpherson discovered that “complexities” had forced the council to delay the project into 2019.
But with 2019 having been and gone, the Wi-Fi project is no closer to completion.
It was suggested last spring the project would be up and running by this March – but the latest report suggests Dundonians will be waiting until the end of the year for freely available high speed internet on the go.
‘Pie In The Sky’ Commendation: Discovery Heights
We’ll put our hands up and say even we got excited when InverTay Homes unveiled speculative proposals for Discovery Heights – a 39-storey £200 million skyscraper that would stand tall and proud on Dundee’s Waterfront.
In our exclusive breakdown of InverTay’s plans – which included a conference centre, serviced apartments, offices and shops – the developers pledged to create a “Sydney Opera House of Scotland”.
Council leader John Alexander shot the plans down when he derided them as “fantasy” – but InverTay will likely be comforted knowing that their project isn’t the only one at the Waterfront that is yet to take off.