Former gasworks site chosen for ‘game-changing’ Dundee tourist attraction

A former gasworks site at Dundee’s waterfront is set to be redeveloped into a ‘transformative and regenerative’ eco tourist attraction.

It comes after a memorandum of understanding was signed by educational charity, the Eden Project, and owners of the site, SGN and the National Grid.

The deal means that Eden can begin progressing plans for the facility, which it says is anticipated to create 200 jobs directly, a further 300 indirectly and contribute £27 million per year to the regional economy.

The Dundee Eden Project follows on from the Cornwall facility, which attracts over one million visitors per year to its series of large biomes which house the world’s largest rainforest in captivity. Opening in 2001, it has brought over £2 billion to the local economy over the years.

A six-month feasibility study was undertaken at the Dundee site prior to it being named as the preferred location, with Eden revealing that the existing tall brick walls at the Dundee gasworks site ‘suggest’ the potential to create walled gardens – allowing for a ‘striking’ contrast to the industrial heritage of the gasworks. Eden said that it envisages it as a ‘powerful’ symbol of regeneration.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the advancement of plans. She said, “The dramatic transformation of Dundee’s waterfront continues apace with this fantastic news. The plans and illustrations for the preferred site look nothing short of stunning. Alongside the iconic V&A, Eden is another game-changing draw to the city and the surrounding area and will play a key role in Dundee’s strategic economic recovery from Covid.

“Tourism remains a key driver for the inclusive growth of Scotland’s economy and in these incredibly challenging times the Eden project in Scotland can provide many benefits and opportunities to secure jobs, increase investment and attract more visitors to the area.

“The regeneration of an old gasworks into a stunning garden of Eden is visionary and should be held up as an inspiration to what can be achieved as Scotland begins the process of building back better from the pandemic. Everyone involved deserves great credit for their drive, energy and commitment and vision in bringing the project to this stage. It really will be a fantastic attraction for the city and Scotland as a whole.

“Also, the climate emergency has not gone away and the Scottish Government looks forward to a successful COP26 In Glasgow. My government’s support for the creation of an Eden in Scotland is a tangible showcase for our commitment to a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2045.”

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, commented, “Completing the feasibility study and identifying the preferred site are another two important milestones on our journey to bringing Eden to Dundee. It truly is an incredible project, which will wow city residents and visitors alike. What Eden has envisaged is the transformation of an industrial site into a world-class attraction with a focus on the environment and sustainability.

“Eden Project Dundee is another opportunity to put Dundee on the map and show how well our city works with internationally-renowned partners. This project will deliver on so much of what we all want for the city – from creating hundreds of jobs and bringing millions annually into the local economy to delivering opportunities for education and connecting our diverse communities.

“It will be another jewel in the crown of our stunning, transformed Waterfront area. And the concept of the entire city being part of the project is unique and incredibly exciting.”