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Evaluation of Discovery Quay Developments Ltd


Discovery Quay Developments Ltd (DQDL) was established in 1988 as a single purpose joint venture public/private partnership with the aim of redeveloping the Dundee Waterfront site. The redevelopment comprised new infrastructure, offices, a hotel/restaurant and the Discovery Point Visitor Centre alongside the RRS Discovery berthed at the quay. The final phase of development was completed in 2006. The evaluation was undertaken prior to the winding up of DQDL, and assessed: its financial performance; the economic activity it generated; the qualitative benefits it achieved; and its contribution to the physical regeneration of Dundee.


Eight organisations were consulted, nine businesses occupying the site were surveyed and 150 people were surveyed on the street in Dundee city centre.


The evaluation concluded that: the DQDL does not appear to have a role in the future development of the waterfront; partnership structures could have been better in the early years; the development took much longer to complete than was originally envisaged; measuring the wider benefits of the development is difficult but the positive impact is thought to be significant; the strong legal commitment made at the outset had positive and negative impacts; the joint venture approach brought benefits to the site; the private sector partners brought certain benefits but were risk averse; DQDL contributed to the regeneration of Dundee and the improvement of its public image.


The evaluation made the following recommendations: the public sector must commit to long-term processes of development and regeneration for projects of this nature and scale; the joint venture public/private model was a successful one, but any future project should carefully consider all the options; the wider social benefits of such redevelopment projects should be recognised from the outset; branding exercises should recognise the role of private sector partners; projects of this nature should include formal consultation plans; a single point of contact should be established for such projects; project delivery should be a full-time rather than extra job; a clear unique selling point should be used, as this has been shown to bring the greatest wider regeneration benefits; and in future, interim evaluations should be carried out so the final evaluation has more material to work from.

Author Ekos Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration
  • Sectors