The cost of developing a visitor centre to house The Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels is expected to be £4.6 million - considerably cheaper than the estimated £6 million needed to provide the now abandoned custom-built facility at nearby Twedbank.
A new set of tender documents for the town centre project was published by Scottish Borders Council on the Scottish public procurement website on Easter Saturday. The same notice also appears in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
Bidders have until May 14 to submit prices for the work with the council hoping to attract bids from five contractors.
The contract notice says Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has recently committed to the delivery of a new high quality and permanent visitor attraction in a strategically important area of Galashiels (Channel Street/High Street, linking the old and new town developments that will provide the permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland (The Tapestry).
The Tapestry is described as a unique community arts project to stitch the entire story of Scotland from pre-history to modern times. The Tapestry is a linear pictorial history of Scotland depicting key events going back 12,000 years. It is also the world’s longest tapestry at 143 metres (469 ft) and consists of 160 separate panels.
Description of the procurement
The new Great Tapestry of Scotland will be an internationally important visitor attraction and a strategic asset of architectural importance to the Borders. It will provide a bespoke solution for the display of the Tapestry and become an instantly recognisable setting to local, national and international audiences.
The design proposes that existing retail premises at 14-20 High Street (which will be demolished through an advance works contract) become the primary site for the new 2 storey tapestry gallery is constructed on this prominent site at the corner of Channel Street and Sime Place linked back to the refurbished former B Listed Post Office building.The proposed site is a prominent key nodal point within the town of Galashiels, and is located at the corner of Channel Street and Sime Place.
An existing retail property (located at 14-20 High Street) will be demolished through an advance works contract which will commence in April 2018. On this cleared site, a new two storey tapestry visitor attraction will be constructed, comprising the main tapestry gallery (located at first floor level) with associated café, shop, temporary gallery space and ancillary support areas located at ground floor level.
In addition, the adjacent Grade B listed former Post Office building, will be refurbished and brought back into productive use to supplement the Tapestry proposals. An active Post Office sorting office and operational depot will remain in use throughout the duration of the contract.
The site sits within a Conservation area that will require the design to provide a considered and positive response to the surrounding environment. Overall, the design will deliver a high quality finish that takes account of the built environment, and also improves the quality of the town centre environment.
Value and duration of the contract
Estimated value excluding VAT: £4 600 000.00 Duration in months: 16.
The original contract notice for the Tweedbank site, published in September 2015 declared: "Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has recently committed to the delivery of a new building on land owned by Scottish Borders Council at Tweedbank that will provide the permanent home for the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
"The new Great Tapestry of Scotland Museum will be a high class visitor attraction and an asset of architectural importance to the Borders. It will provide a properly designed solution for displaying the Tapestry and be an instantly recognisable setting to hold Local and International events.Estimated value excluding VAT: £6 000 000.