Scottish Premiership football club Aberdeen has stepped up efforts to secure a new stadium on the city’s beachfront by releasing an economic impact report for the proposed project.
The report, jointly commissioned by the club and Aberdeen City Council, has been conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and MKA Economics. It outlines that a new stadium at Aberdeen beach is projected to inject at least £1bn (€1.14bn/$1.11bn) into the local economy over the next 50 years and generate footfall of 38 million.
The report estimates that the stadium and community facilities would generate an additional £20m into the local economy every year. It states a new stadium and community leisure complex would directly support 260 sustainable jobs, providing £6m per annum in salaries, and an additional £14.3m of gross value added (GVA) every year.
Furthermore, £80m would be generated in new construction activity, creating almost 400 jobs across the industry. Pittodrie, Aberdeen’s home since 1903, currently generates around 400,000 visits every year. However, with bigger and better facilities, the report states a new stadium could bring an additional 350,000 visitors per year for major events alone. That is a total footfall of 750,000 every year.
Dave Cormack, chairman of Aberdeen FC, said: “Evidence shows that successful regeneration projects need a centrepiece. This is one of the reasons Aberdeen City Council approached us about staying in the city with a stadium that would be a catalyst for the wider revitalisation of the beach and its connectivity with the city centre.
“A new, net-zero, sea-facing stadium would drive the footfall necessary to enable the regeneration of the beachfront, including a potential urban park, refurbishment of the beach ballroom and the creation of superior leisure facilities so that the area becomes a true destination.
“Underlining Aberdeen’s ambition as a forward-thinking city, the proposed stadium and community leisure facilities would send out a positive signal about being open for business and investment while, internally, boosting civic pride and supporting the health and well-being of citizens.
“And with the economic report highlighting that a new stadium would deliver at least £1bn of economic uplift to the city over the next few decades, this clearly demonstrates the club’s ability to be of significant benefit to Aberdeen, including being an excellent community partner.”
Fergus Mutch, policy adviser for Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, added: “Aberdeen cannot afford to lose the club from the city.
“Retaining Aberdeen FC in our city centre is becoming more critical by the day as uncertainty grows around the future of two of our shopping centres and Union Street falls further into decline. Public finances are being squeezed like never before, but we must invest in capital projects like this which will enhance our city and secure our future prosperity.”
Aberdeen in April revealed that its plans for a new beachfront stadium had received “overwhelming” support from fans. The new stadium is intended to form part of a £100m regeneration of Aberdeen’s beachfront. A proposal from Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Yuill to remove the stadium from the regeneration was rejected in March.
Aberdeen had previously agreed a deal to build a new stadium on the outskirts of the city but in August 2021 the club released a statement saying that it was supporting the council’s new beachfront vision.
The £50m plan for a 20,000-capacity stadium in Kingsford, where the club’s training ground is based, was approved in 2019, before councillors last year detailed plans for a stadium on the beachfront.
Cormack in April admitted that the club’s proposed new home is expected to cost around £30m more than originally projected. Cormack told the club’s YouTube channel, RedTV, that the cost “to build a quality stadium” is now expected to be £70m-£75m due to rises in construction costs.
Responding to the economic impact report, an Aberdeen City Council spokesperson told the BBC: “The funding of a replacement for Pittodrie Stadium remains a matter for Aberdeen Football Club.
“Any proposal for a new stadium at the beach would be subject to the statutory planning process. The Council looks forward to considering ways to develop the beach area as part of its wider masterplan.”