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An exciting new development centred on a revolutionary new multi-purpose digital arena could be on the cards for a prominent site next to Slessor Gardens at Dundee’s billion-pound waterfront. An announcement by Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) of an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Dundee City Council allows the company to progress initial design concepts, strategic advice and expertise.

The Arena could provide educational, economic, entertainment and employment opportunities for Dundee. It will announce to Scotland and the other nations of the UK, our intention to drive the City of Dundee as a destination for visitors to enjoy not just for our unique position, hospitality and enviable locations but also our next generation approach for such venues.

The future arena would host circa 4,000 seats, an esports academy for further and higher education and, alongside conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace. It is to be located near the prestigious V&A Dundee adjacent to the Tay Road Bridge and will be a significant new addition to the landscape of the city.  NLAE is already working with Abertay University, Europe’s top ranked institution for video games education, to maximise the educational benefits of this project. As part of the project, Abertay intends to develop a new range of degree courses related to the global esports job market, with students gaining access to bespoke facilities within the arena complex. Abertay’s local college partner, Dundee & Angus College, would also be part of the project, ensuring opportunities for involvement are provided for young people across the region.

Cutting edge facilities and technical infrastructure for the arena and academic campus will be designed with Nottingham Trent University’s Creative Technology faculty, Confetti. Technology partners including Amazon Web Services, and low-carbon energy provider Vital Energi will guarantee that Dundee has a state-of-the-art facility for the 21st century. 

Chris Turner, NLAE CEO said: “We are delighted to be able to announce Dundee as the first of several multi-million-pound projects that the NLAE team is working on. We have been impressed with the forward-looking approach of Dundee City Council and their ambition to have a world class public space at the heart of Dundee. NLAE is working with global technology partners, including Amazon Web Services, to provide unparalleled facilities and experiences. NLAE is working with Vital Energi to develop and deliver a low carbon energy solution for all NLAE projects and other local customers in Dundee City Centre. ”

Mark Flynn convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “Agreeing an exclusivity arrangement with NLAE is the best way forward to allow what is an exciting and potentially winning development the time and space needed to undertake feasibility studies and advance outline proposals. As a thriving and recognised cradle for games development I can think of no better place for such a complex to be.”


Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics said: “We are delighted to be involved in bringing forward this exciting partnership-led development for Dundee, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the future development of Scotland’s digital economy. Abertay has an international reputation for excellence in the video games sector and is ideally placed to lead the educational delivery aspects of this project, with a view to opening up a new graduate talent pipeline to the esports industry, which is worth more than $1billion globally each year.”


Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee & Angus College said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the city and the wider region to build on the fantastic educational partnerships and experiences we already provide within the creative sector.  Dundee & Angus College are proud to be a partner in this exciting and innovative project that will create more opportunities to develop new and existing skills to support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy.”

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About Northern Lights Arena Europe

NLAE’s mission is to leverage creative technologies, education and entertainment as tools for urban development and regeneration. NLAE is reimagining the future of venues as technology enabled multi-purpose hubs to improve the lives of the local community and beyond. Our multi-purpose venues create an ecosystem, linking with Further Education and Higher Education pathways, creating long-term sustainable employment opportunities.


About Abertay University

Abertay University is ranked number one in Europe for undergraduate video games education and in the global top 10 at postgraduate level (Princeton Review). The University created the world’s first video games degree in 1997 and former students have gone on to create internationally renowned games such as Grand Theft Auto. Abertay leads the £11.5m Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) R&D Project, which is located close to the proposed new arena on Dundee Waterfront and seeks to grow the value of the city’s video games development cluster.


About Vital Energi

With over 30 years’ experience in the district energy sector, Vital Energi provide energy generation, distribution, supply and consumption management to help both the public and private sector decarbonise their estates and developments.  Providing multi-technology solutions for new and existing developments to achieve carbon reduction and energy cost targets both now and in the future. Combining both renewable / low carbon generation solutions with optimised consumption measures allows new and existing buildings to contribute towards carbon reduction targets.


About Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd

Ian Ritchie Architects Ltd is one of the world’s most thoughtful, original and influential contemporary architectural practices. Established in London in 1981, incorporated in 2004, IAN RITCHIE ARCHITECTS (iRAL) is an internationally renowned practice known for high quality, innovative, sustainable, intelligent and sensitive design.


Over four decades, and with more than 100 national and international awards, it has consistently delivered projects of exceptional individuality and long-term functionality while exceeding clients’ expectations. iRAL’s commissions include master planning, urbanism, architecture, design, transport, landscape, structure, glass and façade engineering, and energy conservation.


A few notable Projects:

Leipzig Glass Hall, Leipzig Exhibition Centre

The Spire of Dublin

Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art, Madrid

RSC Courtyard Theatre, Stratford/Avon

Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at UCL London

Royal Academy of Music Theatre and Recital Hall, London

Louvre Sculpture Courts and Pyramids (Rice Francis Ritchie, design engineers)