Attractions industry news

28 May 2021

Eden Project signs deal for Dundee site – attraction will create £27m per year to the regional economy

The Eden Project has signed a memorandum of understanding with the owners of its preferred site for the planned Eden Project Dundee attraction.

The proposed site – the former Dundee Gasworks – is located close to the Dundee waterfront on the bank of the River Tay and is less than a mile away from V&A Dundee and the city's main train station.

The agreement between Eden Project and the site's owners, National Grid and SGN, follows the completion of a six-month “pollination” process to establish feasibility for the creation of a new international-scale site.

The feasibility study was completed with the support of Eden’s partners, Dundee City Council, University of Dundee and The Northwood Charitable Trust.

The study defined the themes and approaches of Eden Project Dundee.

One of the suggestions arising from the study was to use the existing tall brick walls on the site to create walled gardens, making for a striking contrast to the industrial heritage of the gasworks.

Eden envisages this as a "powerful symbol of regeneration", echoing the project’s home in Cornwall which is located in a former clay quarry.

The signing of the MoU now signals the start of the next stage of development – a period in which the partners will explore the practicalities of converting the former gasworks into the Eden Project’s home in Scotland.

The plan is for Eden Project Dundee to draw on the history of the city’s Nine Incorporated Trades and for the attraction to be themed around nine new “Guilds” – of Healers, Growers, Navigators, Myth-Makers, Noticers, Alchemists, Celebrators, Menders and “Re-Sourcerors”.

Each Guild will have its Guild Hall on the main Eden Project Dundee site.

The Guild Halls will form the central experience spaces for Eden Project Dundee visitors and will include areas such as the Lookout, which celebrates connections between people and the natural world; the Lush Bunker, a high-tech zone showcasing new ways to grow plants and featuring hyper-real journeys into the air, soil and water; and the Seam, a collection of emotional, story-driven experiences related to mining and its alternatives.

Eden predicts that the project will create 200 jobs (with an additional 300 indirectly created) and contribute £27m per year to the regional economy.

According to David Harland, Eden Project International CEO, Building Eden Project Dundee in the preferred location would also provide an eastern anchor for the Dundee Waterfront regeneration project.

"The former Dundee Gasworks site is by far the best location for our Scottish home and we’re delighted to have a formal agreement in place to start working on a detailed plan," Harland said.

“The feasibility study was like nothing we’ve ever worked on before, coming as it did during lockdown.

"Against all the odds, the hard work and dedication of our partners in Dundee shone through – even when we could only talk to them through a computer screen, their passion for the project, their city and country was palpable.

"Alongside the generous engagement of local businesses and community groups, this has come together, such that we now have a project with genuine air under its wings.”

Eden Project Dundee is one of a "sisterhood" of UK projects Eden Project International is developing.

Plans are well advanced for Morecambe (Eden Project North), and others proposed in Derry/Londonderry and Portland.

Eden’s global portfolio of projects includes developments in China, Australia, New Zealand and Costa Rica.

The original Eden Project, located near St Austell in Cornwall, opened in March 2001 and boasts the world-famous geodesic Biomes, one of which houses the world’s biggest undercover rainforest.

Eden has welcomed more than 22 million visitors since opening and has generated more than £2bn for the regional economy.

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