Edinburgh’s £75m concert hall heads for construction


The team behind Dunard Centre is now progressing the final design details and preparing to begin work on site. A fundraising campaign to secure the remaining £15m of the project’s £75m budget is well under way. 

A meeting of the Edinburgh & South East Scotland (ESES) City Region Deal committee has confirmed the funding package for the city’s major new music venue. The Dunard Centre, supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, was confirmed as receiving support of £10m each from the UK and Scottish governments, and a further £5m from the City of Edinburgh Council.

The music venue was given the green light by Edinburgh’s planning authorities in November. It is being funded through philanthropic donations, including the support of £35m from Dunard Fund, and underpinned by the £25m support from the Scottish and UK governments and the council, as part of the City Region Deal.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is supporting the project by providing a long-term lease for the land.

The 1,000-capacity Dunard Centre is set to be Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music and performance venue in over 100 years. It will be a home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and a key venue for the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as host for other ensembles, choirs, solo musicians, performers and bands. It will also have a café and there will be an all-day events schedule.

Joanna Baker, director of Impact Scotland, the charity responsible for the construction and operation of the Dunard Centre, said: “Edinburgh is a diverse and growing city, and it is our strong belief that the Dunard Centre will drive the future of music and culture across the region.  In building an iconic piece of 21st century infrastructure we are creating space for a new generation of music making and we are delighted that this is recognised by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal partners.  We thank them for this endorsement and look forward to collaborating with colleagues to ensure that the project inspires artists and communities across the region.”

Councillor Russell Imrie, chair of the ESES City Region Joint Committee, said: “The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Joint Committee today confirmed a package of support totalling £25million towards Edinburgh’s first new purpose-built music space in 100 years. Impact Scotland has made clear in its business case the reach of this project; its positive impact on our cultural reputation regionally and nationally, as well as the impact and opportunities for employment and skills development, economic benefit and sustainable value that it brings the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region.”

City of Edinburgh council leader Adam McVey said: “This major investment by City of Edinburgh Council, with support from government and an extremely large contribution from a private benefactor, will help to make this exciting and important new cultural venue for our capital a reality. It will be the first purpose-built concert venue in Edinburgh in more than 100 years and will give us a state-of-the-art facility which matches our international standing as the world’s premier festival city.

“I know so many people in the city are looking forward to enjoying all that this first-class cultural experience has to offer and will benefit from its central location with fantastic public transport connections. The cultural flagship of our City Region Deal, it will complement the wider transformation of the east end of the city centre alongside the Edinburgh St James Quarter, our George Street First New Town transformation project and all the private investment currently taking place across Princes Street and the city centre, all helping to keep our city centre a vibrant and thriving destination.”

UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The pandemic has been challenging for performing arts across the UK, not least in Edinburgh with its internationally famous festivals, artists and venues. But we will build back better and I can think of no finer example than helping create the capital’s first new music venue in a hundred years as well as a home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

“The UK Government is investing £10m in the Dunard Centre as part of our £300m support for the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.”

Scottish government economy secretary Kate Forbes said: “The Scottish government is providing £10 million towards construction of the Dunard Centre in recognition of its potential to significantly boost Edinburgh’s cultural offering and provide a new home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

“Projects like this, supported through our £300 million investment in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, are helping us rebuild a more sustainable and fairer economy for all.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair, Scotland board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is a global capital and world stage for international arts, culture and music. The Dunard Centre will provide further space to continue that tradition and offer further opportunity for more musicians and artists to develop and create. This project is a great example of what can be achieved with close collaboration across the city’s public and private sectors.  Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to play a part in helping bring this project to life.”

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