The Scottish city of Aberdeen is building a new convention center and, ironically for a city once nicknamed the Oil Capital of the World, the $400 million facility includes a multifunction energy center that will employ local renewable resources to produce an “energy ecosystem. “ In lay terms that means the gas provided by local crops, farm, and food waste will be used for the combined cooling, heat, and power plant for the building and possibly the wider area, no North Sea oil required.
The city’s current exhibition facility in Bridge of Don will be converted to mixed commercial/residential use when the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center is opened in Bucksburn with three times the exhibition space and double the seated entertainment space. The new location is closer to Aberdeen International Airport and the city center; a proposed $87 million expansion of the existing railway line from Aberdeen to Inverness will add two stations to link AECC with the airport and has been approved by the city council. The new, 500,000-square-foot AECC will have three onsite hotels providing almost 1,000 guest rooms. The first company to confirm a property located at the facility is Hilton Hotels and Resorts. The Hilton Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Center will have 200 guest rooms, 10 meeting rooms, a spa, and a connected walkway into the convention center.
Set to open in early 2019, the new conference center has a flexible, 12,500-capacity arena with a moveable stage for live entertainment and exhibits, VIP suites and boxes, and a club lounge. As well as an aboveground conference hall, there is 340,000 square feet of subterranean exhibition space to minimize power requirements and maximize square footage without increasing the footprint.
Aberdeen’s investment in the new convention center comes at a time when the exchange rate between pounds sterling and the dollar makes international bookings more affordable than ever, and Norwegian Air has established flights to two Scottish cities from the U.S., with fares starting at $86 each way.