One hundred business leaders have given their backing to a £140m plan to develop an Aberdeen park ahead of a city council vote.
Members of the north-east business community have written to Aberdeen councillors urging them to back the controversial City Garden Project.
The full council will vote on whether the scheme will go ahead on August 22.
Martin Gilbert, of Aberdeen Asset Management, Derek Provan, of Aberdeen Airport, and Sandy Clark, of AMEC, are among those who have given their backing to the project to transform Union Terrace Gardens.
The letter describes the plans as the "most exciting and ambitious opportunities to regenerate the city centre and reverse recent decline". It also expressed "extreme concern" about the damage it could cost the city if the project does not go ahead.
More than 85,000 people voted in a public referendum on the contentious project with 52% voting in favour of the project.
Local businessman Sir Ian Wood has pledged £50m towards the development and a further £20m is expected to be generated from the private sector. A tax incremental financing loan would be used to cover the remaining cost.
A 131-page report on the business case behind the £92m TIF loan from the Scottish Government to fund five city centre regeneration projects, including the transformation of Union Terrace Gardens, was published in June.
Amongst the conclusions reached in the report are that the TIF business case “can be delivered” and has “the potential to unlock 8121 jobs and an average £142m per annum of economic growth over 25 years”.
Two of the city’s commercial property experts, Bill Duguid, of Ryden, and Angus MacCuish, of FG Burnett, have this week given their backing to the TIF business case.
Bill Duguid, managing partner with Ryden, said: “The assumptions made in the document are entirely feasible and the rate of growth to achieve the rates revenues needed to pay back the TIF loan are relatively conservative by recent market indicators, meaning the loan should easily be repayable over its 25-year term.”
Angus MacCuish, managing director of FG Burnett, added: “We have studied the data contained in the business case. It is achievable and stands up to scrutiny.
“It may be that some commentators don’t like or agree with the way in which it has been put together. But it has been drawn up in such a way to meet Scottish Futures Trust’s requirements. This is the body that will approve or reject all bids for TIFs across Scotland and this is the way they insist the data is collated, analysed and presented.”