Nearby developer objecting to scheme’s height and massing

The charity behind a concert hall designed by David Chipperfield for Edinburgh has lined up a contractor despite a legal threat from a neighbouring developer.

International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust Scotland (Impact) has signed a pre-construction services agreement for the £45m scheme with Sir Robert McAlpine.

The Dunard Centre – previously known as the Impact Centre – will be the Scottish capital’s first dedicated new space for music and the performing arts in more than a century and will have a 1,000-seat auditorium at its centre. Home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, it will also include a studio providing rehearsal, recital and recording areas.

It was approved by the city in April after a five-hour meeting following opposition by Nuveen, previously TH Real Estate, the developer of the £850m St James Centre. The shopping centre and hotel complex masterplanned by Allan Murray Architects is being built on a nearby city centre site.

Nuveen Real Estate, which has made several attempts to block the scheme, has now made an application for a judicial review of the council’s decision to grant planning. It is objecting to the concert hall’s height, scale and mass.

Ewan Brown, chair of the Impact Trust, said: ”It is extremely disappointing that the St James’ hotel investors and developers are continuing to try and frustrate the creation of Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music venue in over 100 years and the cultural flagship project of the City Region Deal. It is particularly disheartening considering the public support for the project and the good will and philanthropy behind creating this world-class venue for all of Edinburgh and the wider region.”