The development partnership of City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise and Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) Limited yesterday broke ground on the site of an £85 million Expansion Space for EICC and separate Grade A Offices, signalling the start of one of Scotland’s biggest construction projects, that will sustain 250 jobs at peak employment.
The development forms the last piece of Edinburgh’s Exchange Masterplan and will be ready for occupation by 2013, adding a 2,000 square metre Multi Purpose Hall to EICC and delivering 186,000 square feet of Grade A office space in the city centre.
Main contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, will direct up to eighty sub-contractors on-site working to a build schedule of 126 weeks.
Leading the development partnership in a ground breaking ceremony on-site City of Edinburgh Council leader, Jenny Dawe, said:-”Experience tells us that when we invest in EICC we are investing in the future prosperity of the City and, with a £2.3 billion return forecast over the next thirty years, our long term investment is safe and sustainable through and beyond the current economic downturn.”
Echoing the economic development potential Scottish Enterprise Director, Pamela Woodburn said:-”We are active investors in this development and the return in jobs and prosperity from a resilient EICC is measurable across Scotland and represents excellent value for money.”
Announcing the start of a global marketing campaign for the expanded events venue, EICC Chief Executive, Hans H Rissmann OBE said:-”International Association customers around the world are excited about bringing their delegates to an expanded EICC that can fully justify its offer as the world’s most technologically advanced events space.”
Commenting on the construction project Sir Robert McAlpine Director, Andrew McAlpine said:-”We are delighted to return to this site that we know well as main contractor for the Scottish Widows Edinburgh One building next door and the nearby Standard Life offices and we look forward to delivering another landmark building to this important area of the city.”
During the excavation stage of the development 120,000 tonnes of material will be removed from the site and work on the superstructure will require 3,300 tonnes of structural steelwork to be erected.
The main construction challenges will be the installation of a 15-metre cantilever at the rear of the building where the office development will overhang Conference Square and ensuring that the EICC can continue with business as usual throughout out the build period.
The new Multi Purpose Hall for EICC includes a bespoke moving floor system to cater for various configurations and uses, ranging from flat-floored exhibition, through tiered banqueting to raked auditorium and arena setup.
Art lovers will have another venue to cater to their cultural appetite when the City Art Centre reopens its doors this weekend.
Following a fifteen month refurbishment, the ever popular Market Street gallery will resume its prominent place in Edinburgh’s visual art scene just in time for its summer shows to feature in this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival.
The City Art Centre will reopen to the public on Saturday 31 July with two major exhibitions featuring works by two quite different, world-renowned American photographers, Edward Weston and William Wegman.
Edward Weston (1886-1958) is one of the masters of 20th century photography and one of the most innovative and influential American photographers of all time.
William Wegman (b. 1943) is best known for his series of photographic compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners, in various costumes and poses.
The gallery will also display an exhibition of works from the City’s own nationally recognised collection of Scottish art. In Our Own Image will feature work on the broad theme of the human form, including both conventional portraiture and more challenging portrayals of the clothed and naked human body, both historic and contemporary.
As part of its £1.2m refurbishment, visitor facilities have been improved and brought together on the ground floor. This includes the City Art Centre’s very popular shop, which has been relocated from the first to the ground floor, making it more visible and accessible.
The reception area has also been transformed, with visitor facilities further enhanced by the inclusion of a new cloakroom and improved toilets. The refurbishment’s first phase saw the entire building’s air conditioning and ventilation upgraded, improving atmospheric conditions for gallery goers and for the artworks themselves.
The renovated City Art Centre was formally opened last night at a reception for the summer exhibitions by Councillor Deidre Brock, the City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Leisure Convenor.
She said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome people back to Edinburgh’s own City Art Centre, which is looking superb after its refurbishment. As a major exhibition venue and home to the city’s nationally important art collection, we were determined to ensure the gallery was in top condition ready for a packed calendar of fabulous exhibitions from now on, and I’m confident visitors will agree that we’ve done just that.
“Art lovers, photography fans and all those too who only rarely if ever visit art galleries are in for a real treat with the exhibitions we’re putting on this summer. William Wegman and Edward Weston are both legendary names in the photography world and I’m sure their shows will generate extraordinary interest, while In Our Own Image will present engaging works from our own nationally recognised collection of Scottish art.”
The City Art Centre’s reopening comes just months after the gallery celebrated the receipt of a very welcome grant for £80,628 from Museums Galleries Scotland. This funding will allow the Council to devote a whole floor of the City Art Centre to the permanent display of artworks from its nationally-recognised collection.
Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop commented: “I am delighted the City Art Centre is re-opening. Our museums and galleries provide pleasure and inspiration to visitors as well as a showcase for Scotland’s great collections. It is fantastic that the Recognition Scheme funding I announced in March for the gallery has been put to such good use. As well as the opening exhibition on photography, art lovers can now enjoy more from the city’s Scottish Art collection which will now have its own dedicated exhibition space.”
Joanne S. Brown, EAF Director, said: “The City Art Centre is one of Edinburgh’s most popular venues. We are delighted that the newly refurbished space will reopen as part of the 2010 Edinburgh Art Festival and offer festival goers the only UK opportunity to see exhibitions of work by two acclaimed American photographers.”
The City Art Centre summer exhibitions will be on show from 31 July to 24 October 2010. Joint admission to Edward Weston and William Wegman = Adult £8, Concession £5, Children £2.50, Family £15. In Our Own Image is free of charge.
The exhibitions will be complemented by a packed programme of events and activities for families, schools and adults, such as art and crafts workshops, talks and lectures. For details, visit http://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/ or call 0131 529 3993.
The Central Library is entering into the festival spirit with the launch last night of its Edinburgh Jazz Archive.
The archive will celebrate over 60 years of jazz in Edinburgh, a rich history that has seen the rise of stars such as Sandy Brown and Al Fairweather. Sir Sean Connery was also once a member of the Edinburgh Rhythm Club in the late 1940s/ early 1950s, and even acted as a bouncer at the Jazz Band Balls, which were held at Oddfellows Hall on Forrest Road.
The archive and exhibition will feature an extensive range of memorabilia that tracks the unique jazz scene in Edinburgh since the 1940s.
Councillor Ron Cairns, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Leisure Committee, will attend the launch tonight. He said: “It’s a great honour for our Central Library to become the guardians of such an amazing collection of books, records, CDs, posters, photographs and other memorabilia telling the story of the beginnings of jazz in Edinburgh through several decades. The Edinburgh Jazz Archive demonstrates the unique flowering of music that emerged in the city during the 1940s and has continued to this day.”
The launch is to coincide with the beginning of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, an event that has been running for 32 years in the city.
A special part of the archive collection will be dedicated to the Royal High School, which has seen almost 30 performers educated there, reaching both local and international fame.
The exhibition has been compiled by the Edinburgh Jazz Archive Group and is dedicated to the memory of Janol Scott, a jazz record collector and enthusiast who inspired the creation of the project.
Lothian and Borders Police are appealing for help in tracing the relatives of a man who died in South Queensferry, on July 29th.
Richard John Hinch was pronounced dead at Port Edgar.
There are no suspicious circumstances, and a report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
The 46-year-old is believed to have grown up in the Carricknowe area of Edinburgh, and lived with his mother until she was taken into care in 2005 and died in 2008. It is thought he may have several sisters who he is no longer in contact with.
A police spokesperson said: “We are asking anyone who might know, or know of, Mr Hinch, or his family, to contact us as soon as possible.”
Lothian and Borders Police Police are appealing for information following the theft of eight rare breeding ducks from Bilston, Midlothian.
The Khaki Campbell Ducks were stolen from a breeding pen located at a smallholding in Seafield Road, between midday and 6pm, on Saturday, July 10.
Four males and four females were stolen (four breeding pairs), which are valued at around £50 each. Although there were other ducks in the pen, the Khaki Campbell ducks were the only ones taken.
A police spokesman said: “We suspect that these ducks have been stolen for sale, and we are appealing for any information that can help reunite them with their owner.
“Anyone who has been offered the ducks for sale, or who has any information that can help lead to their recovery, should get in touch immediately.”
Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.
A job going at the Botanics – no aptitude for real digging required though…..This is the job advert:-
Scottish Ministers are currently seeking to appoint two members to the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. You will complement the skills of existing Trustees.
These appointments offer an excellent opportunity to contribute to the work of a major visitor attraction which has one of the world’s most valuable scientific collections, and is a centre of excellence in botanical and horticultural science.
Each appointment is for 4 years with a possibility of re-appointment for a further term. Time commitment will be approximately 16 days per annum, with the majority of meetings taking place in Edinburgh. It is non-remunerated, however, travel and subsistence costs and reasonable receipted dependant carer and childcare expenses will be reimbursed.
Closing date for applications is Friday 6 August 2010.
Up to 600 new homes could be built in Edinburgh as part of a bid to tackle the desperate need for more affordable accommodation in the city.
The City of Edinburgh Council is taking part in the National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative set up by the Scottish Government to deliver new homes for mid market rent (usually 80% of full market rent) across the country.
Under the scheme the Council would borrow funding with the Scottish Government underwriting the loans to remove the risk to Councils in lending funds to the scheme.
With the ongoing financial pressures on Council and Scottish Government budgets NHT is seen as a way of maintaining the affordable housing market in the Capital.
Eight developers have already expressed an interest in building homes in Edinburgh through NHT which would help stimulate the housing market and the local economy.
A report is going to the City of Edinburgh Council’s Policy and Strategy Committee next week (August 3) recommending the Council takes part in the first phase of national procurement for NHT.
Housing Leader Councillor Paul Edie said the initiative is a positive way of trying to tackle the shortage of affordable homes in the Capital.
He said: “Edinburgh has the most pressurised housing market in the country with around 130 households bidding for every one council home that is advertised.
“It’s important the Council works with our partners in the private sector and the Scottish Government to explore all possible ways of meeting the glaring need for more affordable homes.
“Given the current economic climate and tightening of public purse strings NHT is an innovative way of building more affordable homes.”
He added: “There are several sites in the city that have planning consent for housing but are currently mothballed as the developers can’t raise loans from banks to build homes for sale on the open market.
“This scheme is an ideal way of dealing the shortage whilst at the same time providing an economic boost for the housing industry and local businesses.”
Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: “The Scottish Government is spearheading the drive in the United Kingdom to tackle the effects of massive budget cuts and unearth new sources of funding to continue to build more affordable housing.
“The NHT is a ground-breaking initiative which has the potential to kick-start activity on mothballed housing sites, build at least 1,000 new homes right across Scotland and lever in about £130m of extra housing investment.
“We are very pleased that Edinburgh Council has shown such a keen interest in the scheme and we hope other local authorities will join in due course.”
Police in Edinburgh are warning motorcyclists to take adequate steps to protect their vehicles, following the theft of two motorbikes left unsecured in a guesthouse car park.
The theft happened between 2.30am and 8am on Tuesday (July 27), from the front car park of a guesthouse in Minto Street.
A grey and silver BMW worth £15,000 was stolen, along with a black Yamaha worth £8000. Both bikes had Swiss plates, and belonged to holidaymakers.
The thefts follow another incident that happened on Thursday, July 15 when two youths stole a foreign-owned Suzuki motorbike that was left unsecured in Brunswick Road. On that occasion, the bike was recovered nearby.
A police spokesman said: “We are appealing for any information that can help us identify who is responsible for these thefts, but at the same time we are warning bike owners – especially those holidaying in Edinburgh – to be on their guard.
“Leaving your bike unsecured is an invitation to thieves, and these thefts serve as an example of what can happen if you do not take the appropriate steps to protect your vehicle.
“In addition to purchasing a good quality padlock and chain, bike owners should always try to secure their vehicle to a fixed and immovable object, for added security.
“Under no circumstances should you leave your bike completely unsecured.”
Anyone with any information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.
The Museum of Fire, based at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service’s historic headquarters on Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, is holding an open day on Saturday 7 August.
The Museum, usually only open to visitors Monday to Friday, is home to the Service’s vast collection of fire and rescue service related artefacts dating as far back as 1426.
Honorary Curator of the Museum and past Assistant Firemaster, Ian McMurtrie said:
“The Museum is a mine of fantastic historic fire memorabilia such as fire engines dating back as early as 1806 and items belonging to James Braidwood, the ‘Father of Firefighting’ and the founder of Edinburgh Fire Brigade, the first municipal brigade. Although the museum normally welcomes visitors during weekdays, the open day is a great opportunity for members of the public to drop in and learn about the vibrant history of this vital service.”
As well as the Museum’s own collection of artefacts and vehicles, there will be twelve additional appliances on display in the front and rear yards and stalls selling items to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Come and explore the rich history of the fire and rescue service and see uniforms, equipment and photographs – our volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and tell fascinating tales from days gone by.
The Museum will be opening its doors between 10am and 4pm, but in the meantime for more information on the museum and the treasures inside visit the Service’s website at http://www.lbfire.org.uk/museum/museum_intro.htm.
A real treat this week – yet again a film that you have to go and see! The film is Gainsbourg and it is showing at the Cameo on Lothian Road at 13.00, 15.30, 18.10 and 20.50. The film is a wee peek at the life of the French singer from his childhood in wartorn France till his death in 1991. Stars Eric Elmosnino in the title role – and the film gets an almighty 92% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes.….unbelievable!
If you’re then feeling a bit French you could also go and see Heartbreaker at 18.30 which features among others Vanessa Paradis. Again a whopping 88% from Rotten Tomatoes, so a blockbusting afternoon and evening at The Cameo for you!