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Construction industry takes gold after Games investment

INVESTMENT of more than £769 million was made to prepare Glasgow to host the Commonwealth Games, bringing a major boost to the Scottish construction industry.

ATHLETES' VILLAGE: Home to 6,500 competitors and officials.
ATHLETES' VILLAGE: Home to 6,500 competitors and officials.

The expenditure relates to the value of contracts undertaken to build infrastructure and upgrade facilities to equip the city to host the event, which kicked off at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.

And there is still investment to come, with an extra £50 million of regeneration work in the pipeline.

The figures compiled by Barbour ABI, the construction intelligence specialist which supplies data to the government and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is based on contracts completed and with planning permission in place.

The analyst found more than half of the £769 million was spent on upgrading the city's sports facilities.

Within that, nearly 50 per cent was accounted for by the 35-hectare Athletes' Village, built by the City Legacy Consortium, the analyst found.

The consortium, a coalition of housebuilders, including Cruden Estates, Mactaggart Mickel and WH Malcolm, has built accommodation for 6,500 athletes and officials, which after the Games will be retrofitted into 300 private homes, 400 properties for housing associations and a 120-bed care home.

Barbour ABI said a combined £217 million was spent on the Emirates Arena, incorporating the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, in the city's east end, and the SSE Hydro at Pacific Quay.

It also found £120 million was invested to regenerate existing sports facilities in Glasgow and other locations which will host events during the Games.

The projects have included the £30 million refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, which will host diving, and the £15 million extension of the National Swimming Centre at Tollcross Leisure Centre in Glasgow's east end, where the swimming competitions are being held.

A breakdown on how much has been invested by the public and private sectors is not available.

However information supplied by Barbour ABI shows that Glasgow City Council was the client in 15 of the 27 projects listed. These include the Athletes' Village, work to improve roads, the refurbishment of a building in Glasgow's Merchant City to host the Glasgow 2014 headquarters, and the installation of a 400-metre running track at Hampden Park.

Other clients have included the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, which built the Hydro, and Clyde Gateway.

The urban regeneration company is developing a hotel cinema, shops and restaurants towards the east of the city, which accounts for the £50 million of work still to come.

Ed Monaghan, chief executive of Mactaggart & Mickel, said: "The Commonwealth Games gave the Scottish construction industry the equivalent of a shot of adrenalin - investment in infrastructure, new venues, refurbishment and, of course, the Athletes' Village.

"Longer term, the regeneration of the east end will attract further investment, and new business and retail tenants bringing spin-off benefits to the Scottish construction industry and economy.

"This is our Games legacy and as an industry we need to grab it with both hands."

Vaughan Hart, managing director for Scottish Building Federation, said: "Official figures show the value of the Scottish construction sector rose by £1 billion during 2013 and it's clear from these latest figures that Commonwealth Games related contracts have provided a positive contribution to this rise in output."

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