The official opening of The Event Complex Aberdeen – which is the largest new entertainment complex in Europe – was marked at a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the landmark development.
With the P&J Live venue at its heart and two on-site hotels, the world-class complex is an integral part of Aberdeen City Council’s transformational programme of investment.
The opening was carried out by Council Co-Leaders Councillor Jenny Laing and Councillor Douglas Lumsden.
The 15,000-capacity main arena will host conferences, exhibitions and music concerts and has been designed to attract major artists and events to the city. P&J Live also boasts three further conference and exhibition halls, four multi-purpose conference rooms, and nine meeting rooms.
A 200-room Hilton hotel with restaurant, bar, and spa and 150-room Aloft with bar, bistro, lounge and gym provide on-site accommodation and leisure facilities. It is the first property to open under the Aloft boutique brand in Scotland.
There will be several test events at the complex, including a ticketed public open day this weekend, before the venue welcomes delegates for its first conference when the Offshore Europe conference and exhibition opens on 3 September.
International acts already confirmed to appear at P&J Live include Michael Buble, Alice Cooper, Lewis Capaldi and Rod Stewart as well as comedians Jack Whitehall and Russell Howard. Elton John will bring his worldwide farewell tour to the venue in November 2020.
The £333million facility, benefiting from excellent transport links through the neighbouring Aberdeen International Airport and city bypass, is expected to contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63 million net Gross Value Added to the Scottish economy over 10 years. It will also result in the creation of 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations.
Today’s official opening is a milestone in the most significant period of transformation in the city’s history, with the Council’s £1billion capital programme changing the built environment and driving cultural change.
Projects include the restoration and expansion of Aberdeen Art Gallery, which will reopen in November, and the redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens in the heart of the city. New roads, including the bypass and the Diamond Bridge, the creation of a unique visitor attraction at Provost Skene’s House, refurbishment of the iconic Music Hall, creation of the award-winning Marischal Square office and restaurant complex as part of the wider regeneration of Broad Street, are also integral to the ambitions for the city.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “The official opening represents an important day not only for Aberdeen but for the region and the country as we launch a venue which will have truly global reach.
“The completion of a project of this scale, just three years from when the first turf was cut, is a great achievement for the Council and our project partners. It is important to recognise the contribution of all those who have worked so hard to bring the complex to fruition and to place on record our thanks to the teams and individuals who have delivered this landmark development.
“P&J Live will attract major artists, conferences and events to the region. It will serve the residents of the city as well as attracting delegates and tourists from home and abroad as a central strand of our Regional Economic Strategy and its key aims of increasing diversification, internationalisation and inclusive economic growth. It is an incredibly exciting period, with many new chapters in Aberdeen’s story being written, and today is the most significant part of what is an unprecedented programme of transformation throughout the city.”
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “The opening ceremony marks the conclusion of an ambitious project – but is just the start of the journey for a complex that is unrivalled in Britain and will be the envy of cities across Europe.
“We look forward to welcoming the Aberdeen public as they sample what the venue has to offer this weekend and delegates of Offshore Europe when the first major event is hosted in September. As a city we can be proud of what we have created and of the wider work that is being done to build on our reputation as a destination for business and leisure.
“The significant investment being made by Aberdeen City Council, both in infrastructure and in culture through our innovative Aberdeen 365 events programme, is changing the city and region’s outlook and there is a real of momentum building. P&J Live is a jewel in the crown that will provide major economic benefits for generations to come and the positive impact the development will have cannot be overstated.”
Aberdeen City Council’s development partner for the project is Henry Boot Developments, the main contractor is Robertson Group, and the operator for P&J Live is SMG Europe.
Preview @ P&J Live is being held on Saturday (10 August) as the first public event, with free tickets quickly snapped up following their release last month. The day will include entertainment from local musicians, the chance to sample the venue’s food and drink offering, cooking demonstrations children’s activities.