Mareel construction to begin within weeks

Construction of Shetland’s £12.2 million cinema and music venue Mareel will finally get underway in “a matter of weeks” after the contract between Shetland Arts and DITT was signed this week.

The two parties have been in negotiations since autumn and Shetland Arts said a range of minor land acquisition issues had now been concluded and it plans to hold a “small celebration” on the site in May to mark the beginning of the building phase.

A new project manager, Ewan Balfour of James Nisbet, has been appointed to see the development through its final stages. The other members of the construction team are the Peter Johnson Partnership, through their collaboration with architects Gareth Hoskins, and David Adamson and partners.

It is still hoped that the building will be ready to open in late 2010 or early 2011, but Shetland Arts director Gwilym Gibbons said an exact opening date would become much clearer around six months into the construction process.

He said: “I and the Mareel project board are delighted that building can now begin on Mareel. It has been a long journey with many twists, turns and hurdles. There will be more, but it feels like we are now very much on the home straight. I believe that our local team … are all ideally placed to ensure this next and final phase runs as smoothly as possible.”

Funding for Mareel is coming from a £6.2 million contribution by the SIC, £2.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund, a £2.1 million Scottish Arts Council grant, £965,000 from Highlands & Islands Enterprise and £50,000 from the Gannochy Trust.


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