Work starts on Edinburgh’s new Dunard Centre with remaining funding needing secured

Work has begun on the site for Edinburgh’s new Dunard Centre, the city’s first purpose-built music venue in more than 100 years.

dunard centre

The first step in bringing the new 1,000 seat music hall to reality is clearing the site, located behind Dundas House off St Andrew Square. It is set to open by 2026.

The Dunard Centre will be the biggest music venue built in the capital since the Usher Hall in 1914, and will become home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as assisting in hosting the Edinburgh International Festival.

Plans were eventually given the go-ahead in November 2021, after the original application drew objections from the neighbouring St James Quarter over the height of the new building.

The Dunard Centre project is being funded through a combination of government funding, private donations and a long-term lease for the land from the Royal Bank of Scotland, who formally handed over the site in late January. Both the UK and the Scottish governments are contributing £10m, while the City of Edinburgh Council will provide £5m.

This is not enough to fully fund the project, however. While the cost was first said to be £75m, The Scotsman report it is still not known. Whatever it comes to, the remaining money is hoping to be secured before construction begins later this year, with a campaign underway, but the local council leader, Cammy Day, said he “couldn’t see” the council provide any more funds. 

It is believed this initial clearance work will focus on the 1960s annexe of the RBS headquarters at 36 St Andrew Square and will be completed later this year. Construction will start soon afterwards.

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