Exhibition News October 2018 - Page 28

FEATURE Evolution in action Paul Colston heads to the Granite City to witness the rise of TECA and Aberdeen’s knowledge and innovation economy fast priming itself to deliver big for events S 28 cotland’s third largest city is ready to reap the benefits of a solid £333m investment in a new convention and exhibition centre TECA – or The Event Complex Aberdeen – which is rising quickly on a large site by the airport. The new venue project is being delivered by Aberdeen City Council in partnership with Henry Boot Developments and includes a 12,500 capacity arena, 48,000sqm of exhibition space and conferencing for up to 5,000, as well as two on-site hotels with 350 bedrooms and a further 150 rooms coming shortly after opening. There is 33,300sqm of subterranean space designed to deliver a slick and environmentally friendly logistical operation. Set to open in 2019, TECA will springboard Aberdeen into a new international-class convention destination able to host the very top national and international events. Managed and operated by SMG, which operates over 240 venues worldwide including Manchester Arena, First Direct Arena in Leeds, Bridgewater Hall, Bonus Arena in Hull and the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, TECA will offer a far more flexible and technologically advanced space than the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre it replaces. Cllr Jenny Laing, co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council, comments that the TECA project, “represents one of the most significant developments in the history of the city. It is fantastic to see the construction continuing at pace and the momentum building as the opening draws nearer.” Nick Waight, managing director of the venue underlines TECA is the largest ever single investment in a venue in the UK, adding: “TECA is an integrated multi-functional venue which I believe will offer conference and exhibition organisers a unique facility, with October 2018 | exhibitionnews.co.uk the potential to attract audiences who can take advantage not only of the purpose-built event facilities, but also other events happening at the venue.” Waight clearly has his eye on the big regional potential to drive exhibitions at the venue also. “Aberdeen households have one of the highest average disposable incomes in the country and as such offer organisers an ideal platform to stage consumer shows,” he says. “With a two-hour drive time giving a population of 750k people, I think the market size will more than sustain an active consumer exhibition programme sized appropriately.” Nevertheless, Waight notes: “The challenge for us is to get organisers up to Aberdeen and to see first-hand the fantastic facilities and turn-key solutions we offer.” “TECA is an integrated multi-functional venue which will offer exhibition organisers a unique facility, with the potential to attract audiences who can take advantage not only of the purpose-built exhibition facilities, but also other events happening at the venue. Aberdeen households have one of the highest average disposable incomes in the country and as such offer organisers an ideal platform to stage consumer shows. I think the market size will more than sustain an active consumer exhibition programme sized appropriately. “The challenge for us is to get organisers up to Aberdeen and to see first-hand the fantastic facilities and turn-key solutions we offer, on shell schemes and exhibition services.” Combined with a huge energy heritage and a more recent reputation for start-ups and high- tech research, the North Eastern city has been working hard on its conference ‘software’ to boot up the new venue hardware. Aberdeen’s economic diversification is moving swiftly, and research and start-ups are key components of a strategy of hothousing innovation. The University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute is one example. A world leader in the nutrition research for 100 years, the institute is one of Europe’s biggest health campuses. It boasts a full clinical investigation unit, residential facility and full analytical back up, all giving weight to the city’s research credentials and a draw for meetings. Another vibrant example of Aberdeen as an innovation hub is the Oil & Gas Technology Centre. Established in 2016 with a £180m start up fund, it is tasked with firing long- term improvement programmes to enhance growth and competitiveness, connectivity and employment in the regional economy. A growing team, led by the dynamic David Millar, both funds and directs projects and hothouses innovative talent. For innovators seeking a futuristic vibe for their meetings backdrop, the centre and its design provides an i ɽȁѡɕѥٔɭ́Ѽ