Edinburgh concert hall costs to ‘double’
● Legal battle over plans for complex site might push final bill to £90m
The cost of developing a new concert hall in Edinburgh may have have risen to as much as double the original estimate of £45 million.
The concert hall team refused to confirm or deny suggestions that the likely cost had risen as high as £90 million, insisting final costings were now unclear due to the project – developing the first new concert hall in Edinburgh in more than 100 years – having been put on hold for an unknown amount of time.
Developers behind the project are reportedly exploring other sites.
The soaring cost of Edinburgh’s troubled new concert hall project is feared to have risen to double the original estimate of £45 million.
The expected bill is understood to have risen even beyond the inflated £70 million which the project’s backers confirmed in the autumn.
The concert hall team refused to confirm or deny suggestions that the likely cost of the ambitious plan to build the first new concert hall in Edinburgh for more than a century had risen as high as £90 million.
They point out that final costings are now unclear due to the project having been put on hold for an unknown amount of time.
Developers behind the project – originally priced at £45 million –are exploring other sites amid a legal battle over their proposals.
Impact Scotland secured planning permission for the Dunard Centre, to be built behind the RBS building at St Andrew Square in April.
But the 1,000-capacity concert hall, earmarked to become the new home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, is subject to a judicial review being brought by the developers of the next-door St James Centre against Edinburgh City Council.
With the legal hold-ups, which could take years, impact Scotland is now believed to be seeking out where else the concert hall could be built.
The project, initially due to open in 2023, could be held up in the courts for years.
One industry source said: “It’s no surprise. The issue is that they are going 20 metres underground in the centre of Edinburgh. That is inevitably going to lead to problems and costly delays.”
The news comes as the council, which is being taken to court for approving planning permission, has asked for mediation in an effort to settle the legal challenge.
The authority said it cannot comment on ongoing legal proceedings.
Conservative economy spokesperson on Edinburgh City Council, Cllr John Mclellan said: “in such a constrained site with such significant ground condition problems which had already been identified by the St James people, it should be no surprise when it comes down to planning the practicalities of this project that it’s significantly more difficult than first thought and any time overruns result in cost overruns.
“We saw with the Scottish Parliament that grand designs by visionary architects on difficult sites cost a considerably greater amount than first proposed.”
The planned concert hall is now the subject of a judicial review