Invertay unveils vision for 39-storey tower in Dundee

Paul Stevens Paul Stevens Uploaded 18 December 2018

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A Dundee development firm has unveiled its vision for what would be Scotland’s tallest building on the city’s waterfront.

Invertay Homes said its 39-storey Discovery Heights concept would create the "Sydney Opera House of Scotland".

Under the plans, the 462ft tall tower would be the location for Dundee's first five-star hotel and it would also include serviced apartments, a 2,800 space conference centre, rooftop sky bar, offices, a visitor centre and retail facilities.

The ambitious development would bring in up to £200 million for the Dundee economy, creating almost 1,000 permanent jobs in the area in the process.

Invertay director of operations, Edward Wighton, told Scottish Construction Now that Discovery Heights would fulfil his dreams of what could be achieved with the moral support of local and national government as well as the backing of Dundonians.

He said: "The V&A was ambitious and most Dundonians didn't expect that to happen. Unless you have ambitious ideas you are never going to achieve anything ambitious.

"We've talked to potential investors all over the world who are excited by the scale of the project, the development's waterfront location and the city of Dundee itself. The buzz around the city has helped open doors and people want to be involved in Dundee," he added.

Designed partly by local architect Fraser Middleton from ARKTX, the complex is set to be built in Site 12 of the projected £1 billion Dundee Waterfront development project.

While the development brief for Site 12 suggests that any potential development should be "bold and ambitious", it also requires the buildings to be between five and seven storeys in height.

The brief read: "Site 12 commands a very prominent location within the central waterfront development and will be highly visible from a number of key locations in and around the waterfront area. Alongside the V&A Museum of Design, the building will help redefine the riverfront edge and act as an additional gateway building to the city when arriving via the Tay Road Bridge.

"Site 12 will also act as a counterpoint to the V&A, helping to define the central open space. As such, a bold and ambitious design will be required to reinforce the city's ambitions as an emerging international city and to provide a distinctive entry to the city.

"The buildings facing Waterfront Place should be five or six storeys in height while buildings formed within plots C and D should be the highest to support the sense of scale desired at the gateway point to the city when arriving via the Tay Road Bridge," it added.

Although Mr Wighton said the proposal may fall outside development brief in some aspects, he said it was inside the requirements in many others.

He said: "Given the economic benefits the development would bring in terms of investment and employment, if we were to move things forward we are sure we can make a positive case in favour of our plans.

"International investors bring international companies and contacts. We want to create the tallest building in Scotland but this project won't just be the creation of an exceptional landmark, it will also bring multiple benefits to the local area and local people," he added.

Standing at 141m, Discovery Heights would exceed the height of Kengo Kuma's recently-completed V&A Museum, the Tay Road Bridge and Glasgow Tower, which is currently Scotland's tallest building at 125m high.

Wighton said: "Our next step is to move towards a formal planning application and in order to do that we need to carry out various investigations of the site itself from an engineering perspective and make sure the conceptual building can be made a reality. We will then move towards detailed design in terms of the architecture."

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said the proposal did not conform to the local authority's plans for the waterfront nor to the city-wide development plan.

Alexander said: "I won't pass comment on the actual proposal but this is news to me. In fact, it's news to all of Dundee's councillors. There is absolutely no planning application in for this.

"It does not conform to the Waterfront Development plan. It does not conform to the city-wide development plan," he added.

Alexander also said InverTay had no agreement in place for any development on Site 12 and highlighted the fact a pre-planning application notice was already in place for the site.

The proposal of application notice, submitted by Keppie Design on behalf of Dawn Developments Ltd, revealed plans for a proposed £60m mixed development including offices, hotels, housing and ground floor commercial units with parking and associated works.

Alexander said: "The whole thing seems like an absolute fantasy at this point."

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