Dundee waterfront’s ongoing renaissance has reached a new milestone with the official opening of Waterfront Place. The striking urban beach, active travel hub, and interactive play area were given the seal of approval by John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, at a ceremony held next to the V&A – Scotland’s first design museum.
The landmark site is seen as a key catalyst for the wider £1 billion regeneration of the city. Morgan Sindall Construction was selected by the local authority to deliver the £6 million project in early 2020.
Work has been carried out in line with Scottish Government guidance on the safe operation of construction sites during COVID-19. The main contractor has worked closely with the council’s development team to ensure minimal delays to the programme; with the decision taken to open the urban beach now, at the height of summer, while the finishing touches are put to the rest site over the coming weeks.
Chief among those is the installation of a striking stainless-steel whale sculpture designed by award-winning British artist Lee Simmons. Morgan Sindall Construction was awarded a separate £1.7m contract earlier this year to manufacture and install the centrepiece. Comprised of tubular sections, it will flow from the northern entrance of Waterfront Place with the tail arching towards the Tay to capture a sense of movement.
The landscaped 7,000 square foot urban beach is surrounded by bench seating and features illuminated footpaths to encourage all-day usage. The 2,150 square foot active travel hub features a striking design in homage to the adjacent V&A museum.
In addition to providing cycle hire and storage, the building will serve as a meeting point and source of information; promoting cycling and other forms of sustainable low carbon travel to residents and visitors. It provides immediate access to the National Cycle Network that runs alongside the Tay.
Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall Construction in Scotland, said: “This has been a momentous project to be entrusted with and one we’ve taken great pride in delivering. It will spur the ongoing renaissance of this great coastal city’s waterfront area, meaningfully promote active lifestyles and low carbon transport, while enhancing the experience for local people and visitors alike.
“We’ve worked hand-in-glove with the city council to reach this milestone before the end of summer and the urban beach is sure to be a major hit in the August sunshine.
“The installation of the whale sculpture in September will be a real spectacle and add a final injection of creativity and identity to what is already a striking vista.”
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, added: “This is one of the prime spots on the whole of the waterfront and right from the planning stage it was important that it could be accessed and used by everyone.
“Anyone who comes along will see for themselves the quality of the work, which was in itself a key part of our desire to attract people here, not just from the city but across Scotland, so that they could truly experience the re-established connection between the city and the river.
“It forms the next step forward in our phased and managed growth at the waterfront and the months and years ahead will see much more to come on the other sites across the area.”
The Waterfront Place project was awarded funding as part of the Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund established by Transport Scotland, from funds awarded under European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020 programme.