As readers of my blogs will know, I am a very proud Dundonian and I think what the Council has done in relation to the Waterfront is brilliant and should take Dundee to another level. I think 2015 will prove to be another exciting year in the transformation of the City of Discovery. We can look forward to the new railway station taking shape, more progress with the V&A and hopefully some more announcements regarding the renovation of the Wellgate Centre, which is to include a 16 screen cinema, restaurants and cafes. I think the proposal in relation to the Wellgate will bring further life to the City Centre and hopefully increase the number of restaurants opening.
Following on from the recent announcement that the Apex Hotel has purchased Customs House with a view to creating a 5 Star offshoot, I understand they are also actively looking at creating a Conference Centre which will accommodate up to 700 people – this too will also be a great addition for Dundee. I have also heard a whisper that a very well-known department store is looking at one of the sites at the Waterfront Development with a view to becoming an anchor tenant. Again this would be a welcome boost to the ever increasing reputation of Dundee as a centre for shopping.
I was recently at a meeting with various people involved in the property industry and as always I was singing the praises of Dundee. I was discussing a potential major development on the outskirts of the City and one of the issues raised was the lack of frequent London/International flights. I do have a concern that, although the improvements to Dundee City Centre will help attract more visitors, the lack of regular flights will curtail the number of daily tourists. I would urge the Scottish Government to consider turning Leuchars into Fife International Airport with shuttle buses both to Dundee and nearby Leuchars train station. With decent sized planes, regular internal and some international flights, Dundee would gain a massive boost and could capture more day time visitors.
Apart from the issue of the airport I see significant demand for housing and hotels and I would urge the Council to focus on these areas, in particular housing. The Council needs to improve and streamline the planning process so that the housing developments the city is crying out for go ahead. There is also significant rental demand both from tenants and property investors and the Council needs to assist here – a blog to follow.
In conclusion this is an exciting time for Dundee and an era that will I’m sure, mark the rebirth of the City.
PS – since writing this blog, the news has broken regarding the increased costs of the V&A. I think this has been the worst kept secret as it has been clear for a number of months, if not longer, that the project was going to cost far more than budgeted. Whilst it is now important that the powers that be keep the costs within the revised budget, the fact is that the V&A is fundamental to the future of Dundee and we should all work together to ensure it happens.
Partner & Head of Property