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Council in hunt for city centre design team

24/04/14

Aberdeen City Council is seeking a multi-disciplinary design team to prepare a masterplan and delivery programme for the city centre.

An update on the procurement process for the team has been given to the City Centre Regeneration Board, which discussed the content of the Invitation to Tender for the contract.

The Board heard that a phased transformational masterplan for the city centre, incorporating detailed proposals for the Denburn Valley area, must be prepared by the successful bidder.

The council is in the process of securing a design team for the City Centre Masterplan and Delivery Programme. The City Centre Regeneration Board is expected to make a recommendation to Full Council about the appointment of a preferred bidder in June.

City Centre Regeneration Board chair Councillor Marie Boulton said: "This is a very exciting project for the city. The Strategic Infrastructure Plan identifies the regeneration of the city centre as a key priority for Aberdeen.

"The Council is working closely with its partners on the City Centre Regeneration Board to secure a masterplan for the city centre which will breathe new life into the area and deliver a sustainable modern, busy and attractive city centre which Aberdeen deserves and can be proud of."

The masterplan will provide a visionary, integrated, coherent and compelling template for the sustainable development of the city centre, informed by a robust appraisal of the city centre's economy and its main property and development markets to form the basis of an assessment of Aberdeen's economic growth prospects and targets over 20 years. The vision will define what the city needs to meet its aspirations and ambitions.

A transformational facility or feature of outstanding architectural and built quality, which forms a key element in the Denburn Valley, which will act as a regeneration catalyst for the city centre is required. It should enhance and extend the existing cultural character of the city as an attraction and transform Aberdeen's capacity and reputation as an international visitor destination.

Other areas of study which the masterplan must take in include: the east and west gateways of Castlegate and Holburn; the potential offered by the North Dee/Palmerston area; and future proposals for Aberdeen Harbour. It will also make recommendations on the distribution of land uses across the masterplan area and the preferred locations for specific development opportunities and supporting amenities.

Comparable and competitor city economies in the UK and Europe which can act as a benchmark and illustrate differing approaches to managing change and securing new economic development opportunities will be identified in the document.

A robust business case which will support the masterplan and delivery programme, which quantifies the economic, social and environmental outputs of the masterplan will be provided by the successful bidder. The business case will include, for example: details of the number of jobs, including apprenticeships, created; business space delivered; carbon, water and energy savings; community benefits; and wildlife habitat and public space created.

Design standards of the highest quality, which differentiate Aberdeen city centre from its competitors, while being economically realistic, will be required.

A specific requirement of the masterplan is to consider the future of the Denburn Valley, while maintaining the essential historic character of Union Terrace Gardens and retaining the view from Union Bridge to the skyline created by His Majesty's Theatre, St Mark's Church and the Central Library.