Opportunity knocks for hospitality entrepreneurs in Dundee Waterfront

Opportunity knocks for hospitality entrepreneurs in Dundee Waterfront

Dundee’s hospitality and tourism entrepreneurs are calling for more like-minded businesses to join them in creating more new ventures in Scotland’s ‘Hospitality City’

With the £1bn Dundee Waterfront project gaining momentum, including V&A Museum of Design Dundee, the city is forecasting a dramatic tourist boom during the next decade. The forecast is for 3 million extra visitors and £1 billion of additional consumer spending during the next decade.

The call for more hospitality entrepreneurs emerged during a discussion group hosted by Dundee Waterfront and chaired by Willie MacLeod, of the British Hospitality Association (BHA).

The discussion group, held in Dundee’s new Malmaison Hotel, was attended by the new generation of local hospitality entrepreneurs including Paul McMillian, owner of the Castlehill, which holds the only two AA rosette in the city; Jonathan Horne (two restaurants and two coffee houses) and Andrew McMahon (two bars and a restaurant).

Alan Watt, Dundee Waterfront Development Director, said: “Much of the discussion focused around the need for more businesses to open in the city in advance of the surge in visitor numbers and spend.

There will be outstanding opportunities for new ventures across the hospitality, tourism, leisure and services sectors. We are working on raising awareness across Scotland and beyond so that Dundee is a must see leisure destination.”

Willie MacLeod, Excecutive Director of the British Hospitality Association in Scotland said “Dundee has the potential to become a ‘Hospitality city’ with tourism and leisure set to be major industries. We estimate that Dundee already supports around 6,500 direct and 3,000 indirect hospitality jobs, representing more than 13% of city employment. A wealth of new business opportunities will emerge from these growing industries, stimulated by the Waterfront initiative and the V&A Museum of Design Dundee.” Paul McMillian, owner of Castlehill, said: “With 300,000 extra visitors per annum coming to our city we will need a lot more hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes open and ready for business. I would urge anyone interested to take the plunge and come and join us!”

Mike Galloway, Director of City Development with Dundee City Council said: “To meet demand for space, Dundee Waterfront has just released 1 million sq ft of prime land across 4 sites in the Central Waterfront area, with a further 500,000 sq ft to be released during 2015.  The land, which is owned by Dundee City Council, can be used for office, leisure, retail and residential projects.

Dundee Waterfront also issued an appeal earlier this year for a further five hotels – or 500 bedrooms. The five new hotels will be in addition to the recently opened Malmaison, which occupies the former Tay Hotel; Apex Hotels, which recently acquired the former Customs House building; Sleeperz, which will open a hotel in the new railway station and Hilton Hampton, which has submitted a planning application.

Dundee Waterfront is being transformed with a number of major infrastructure, business and visitor developments underway including the new V&A Museum of Design Dundee,, a proposed ‘Maritime Way’ from RRS Discovery to the HM Frigate Unicorn, plans for a Marina at City Quay, the new Dundee Railway Station, and new residential, office, leisure and recreational developments. The final infrastructure contract has been awarded and the work to create the grid street pattern and new civic space is close to completion.

Andrew McMahon of The West House bar and D’Arcy Thompson summed up the mood and the opportunity for Dundee’s hospitality sector and for the city: “Dundee is a great city. I chose to build my career here and we are on the cusp of a major growth phase that is creating a wealth of opportunities for new enterprises and entrepreneurs. The Waterfront area offers lots of potential for new ventures, and the chance to set the benchmark for the hospitality sector in Scotland.”

Entrepreneurs interested in opportunities for hospitality businesses in the Dundee Waterfront are welcome to contact Allan Watt, Dundee Waterfront director, on 01382 433 306 or allan.watt@dundeecity.gov.uk