Doubling plan

SEC wants government to back £80m expansion

The SEC wants to expand its current facilities (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Scottish Event Campus (SEC) is hoping the government will support an £80 million plan to double capacity that will allow it to host more than one major event at the same time.

The proposal, which has been agreed in principle by the city council, could see a new conference centre built on the east side of the campus.

Peter Duthie, chief executive of the SEC, said the centre was currently turning away conference bookings and an expansion will allow it to attract more high profile events.

He says the additional revenue and taxes generated would justify government backing the proposal. The SEC will also appeal to private investors coming on board to support the project.

“As a public infrastructure project it will pay for itself quite quickly”, he says.

He has also credited the opening of the Hydro in 2013 for helping regenerate the Finnieston area and said the plans could replicate this in other areas around the Clyde.

“With the success of the Hydro the question was what do we do next and the answer came from our conference sales team who said they were turning some business away that we could get if we had more space and better facilities,” said Mr Duthie in an interview published on a social media site.

“Effectively we are looking at building a new conference centre with an £80m expansion at the east end of the campus.

“We are competing in a global market. Upgrading our facilities would allow us to stage two conferences of scale at the same time and attract some of these bigger blockbuster events.

“The challenge for us is that the funding needs to come from government,” he added.

Expansion plans (Pic: Holmes Miller Architects)

“So we are still talking to government to see if we can find a way to get it across the line because it just makes so much sense to do it.

He said one of the unexpected consequences of the Hydro opening was the regeneration of Finnieston into a destination in its own right.

“The reason it happened was that effectively the walking route from the west end to the Hydro was through Finnieston. So as soon as you start doing that people stop off for drinks and something to eat.

“The bars and the restaurants suddenly found themselves being very busy. It wasn’t a hip area but is now winning awards all over the world.”

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