Bids open to appoint contractor at £45m St Andrew Sq concert hall

An artist's impression of how the interior will look
An artist's impression of how the interior will look
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Bosses at the new £45 million concert venue planned for St Andrew Square expect a “good level of interest” as bids open to appoint a main contractor.

Home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the venue will also be designed to make it suitable for rock, pop, electronica, jazz and folk concerts.

Due to the acoustic requirements only bids with specialist building experience as well having a minimum turnover of £50 million will be considered for the project.

Impact Scotland Chairman Ewan Brown said: “We are delighted to be taking this next step towards our goal of creating Edinburgh’s first purpose built music venue in over 100 years.

“This is a unique opportunity to establish a public building for new audiences to experience all kinds of music and performance, in an outstanding venue with exceptional acoustics, right in the heart of the city.”

It will be a two-stage tender process and contractors have until July 11 to submit applications.

Those shortlisted will be invited to tender during August with a contract likely to be appointed by autumn.

The proposed site behind RBS’s 18th century head office is currently home to a 1960s office block which will be demolished to make way for the Impact Centre.

The venue’s design, first launched at an exhibition in March, is being tweaked following feedback from the second public consultation as well as city and heritage bodies.

Impact Scotland also appointed three new trustees to the board to bring depth and diversity of experience in support of the creation of the venue, which hopes more than 350,000 concert-goers a year will flock to each year. 
Morag Campbell, Chief Executive of National Youth Choir of Scotland, songwriter and musician Karine Polwart and Fergus Linehan, director and chief executive of the Edinburgh International Festival have now been appointed.

Karine Polwart said: “Edinburgh is home to some beloved, historic music venues. But as a musician, I’m inspired by the vision of a beautiful new city centre space that’s engineered with contemporary performance and modern audiences in mind.

“I’m especially keen to ensure that the IMPACT Centre nurtures and celebrates the breadth of Scotland’s music and performing arts.

“My hope is that it will become a thriving creative hub in which tradition and innovation can meet, as well as a buzzing civic space both for the people of Edinburgh and for artists and visitors from around the world.”

It will also create a major new venue for the Edinburgh International Festival.

Director Fergus Linehan added: “We plan to adopt the new centre not just for our much-loved morning concerts, but as one of our principal, all-day performance venues.

“This is a unique opportunity to help shape and deliver a creative, public space for Edinburgh and its many visitors.”

Earmarked for a 2021 opening, the project is on track to lodge the planning application this summer.