Preferred bidder selected for existing and new AECC

Artist's impression of the new AECC
Artist's impression of the new AECC
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A leading world-wide venue management company has been selected as the preferred bidder for the operator for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre which is part of the £333million site.

SMG, which operates more than 240 entertainment, sports, conference and exhibition venues across the US, Canada, Europe, South America and Asia., was chosen by members on Aberdeen City Council’s Finance, Policy and Resources committee.

The world-class new exhibition and conference centre for Aberdeen and the north east will generate 600 new jobs during the construction period and 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations, and is a key element of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan to grow and bolster the local economy.

It will anchor existing international events and competing nationally and internationally for new events, as well as by broadening the appeal of the north-east to a global audience.

Over the next 10 years, the new exhibition and conference centre is expected to attract major artists and events to the city, and contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy. It will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena. It is due to open in 2019.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The new world-class exhibition and conference centre will be a fantastic venue and a great asset for Aberdeen as part of the City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan, so it is to be welcomed that such an experienced company has been chosen as the preferred bidder.

“The venue will provide a modern and fit-for-purpose facility, attracting bigger names in entertainment and more major international events and conferences to the north-east, as well as being next to Aberdeen International Airport.

“I am looking forward to hearing about the exciting plans which SMG has for operating the new venue in the future.”

An SMG spokesperson said: "SMG is delighted to be announced as preferred bidder to operate the AECC. We are incredibly excited about the development of this new world class conference, exhibition and entertainment venue for Aberdeen, supported by the region's on-going commitment to innovation and infrastructure.

“We look forward to bringing to bear our international networks and expertise to work with the existing team at AECC alongside the region's passionate base of economic stakeholders, to develop an exciting new events programme for the city.

“The campus will become a jewel in the crown of the city and the wider north-east economy and we look forward to working with the city to realise our joint ambitions to support tourism, key sectors, economic development and the region's entertainment offering."

SMG is the world’s leading operator of exhibition and conference centres, arenas and stadia with a global venue portfolio spanning the UK, Europe, US and Asia. The company operates over 240 venues including high profile exhibition centres such as McCormick Place in Chicago and the Moscone Centre in San Francisco, as well as some of the UK’s largest venues including Manchester Arena, first direct Arena in Leeds and Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

SMG’s global success is built on local and international partnerships with municipally owned venues, developers, event producers and organisers, industry associations, suppliers and sports teams. The company’s expertise is wide-ranging from venue design, development and infrastructure, through to event production, venue marketing, facilities management and world class catering.

It should be stressed that jobs at the current and new AECC would remain as they are currently under TUPE agreements.

The report to committee today gave recommendations for the future operator of the existing AECC from 1 April 2017, and for the new AECC for a period of 10 years. This follows an extensive procurement process during which three bidders have been considered for the future operation and management of both venues.

The procurement for the preferred bidder was undertaken in three stages – market testing, competitive dialogue (outline and detailed solutions), and final tender.

After the decision yesterday, ACC will issue official standstill letters to all bidders to advise of the outcome of the evaluation process.

The standstill period is a period of 10 days ending at midnight at the end of the 10th day after that on which the last notice is sent. If unsuccessful tenderers have any concerns with regard to the process and/or its outcome, they should be raised during the standstill period and there will be an opportunity for them to request additional debrief information at this stage.

The council will enter into a contract with the preferred operator once the standstill period is completed.