New City Centre Strategy approved: Billions of pounds investment in Glasgow mapped out to 2030 with 12 key projects

Public and private investment for Glasgow city centre as transformation plans to guide the area’s regeneration to 2030 are approved.

Transformation plans to guide the area’s regeneration to 2030 were approved today (21 March) by Glasgow City Council. Details of the actions which will take the city centre into the next decade show major office, residential, hospitality and public realm developments are nearing completion or have been delivered, including Candleriggs Square, the Barclays campus in Tradeston, the Love Loan development at George Street, JPMorgan Chase at Argyle Street and the major new Moda residential complex at the former Strathclyde Police HQ on Pitt Street. Investments of almost £1billion has transforming whole sections of the city centre.   

The new City Centre Strategy 2024-30 shows further new developments in the pipeline over the coming years.  As well as new retail and leisure destinations created through the wholesale overhaul of Buchanan Galleries and the St Enoch Centre, major new residential developments are being progressed while the innovation sectors around universities are expected to expand further.

A CGI image of how the redeveloped St Enoch Centre could look like at night.A CGI image of how the redeveloped St Enoch Centre could look like at night.
A CGI image of how the redeveloped St Enoch Centre could look like at night.
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New developments currently in the strategy for the city centre include:

  • Buchanan Galleries: Office, Retail, Leisure, Hotel & Residential, approx £800 million
  • George Square: Re-development of the civic Square and around 2.5 kilometres of the surrounding streets
  • GSA Mackintosh Building: re-instatement of the fire damaged Mackintosh building and public realm upgrades.
  • St Enoch: Mixed use re-development including office, retail, leisure, hotel & residential. Planning permission was granted in 2023.
  • Collegelands, Good Yard Site, Meat Market and Calton Village: mixed use developments on vacant sites to create over 1,500 residential units, over 700 student rooms and over 10,000 square metres for office, retail and leisure uses in phased delivery
  • King Street Car Park: Erection of a mixeddevelopment that could see residential flats, offices, shops, a hotel, restaurant and public house, and leisure facilities built on the site.
  • Ingram Street: 109 sustainable apartments and ground floor commercial space, publicly accessible landscaped garden courtyard filled with trees, flower boxes, raised beds for growing vegetables and seating areas.
  • Gallowgate Car park: 34 new homes for mid-market rent by Wheatley Group.
  • Climate Neutral Innovation District: University of Strathclyde; a 100 percent renewable, climate neutral and climate resilient area within Glasgow City Innovation District
  • Met Tower: £60 Million investment; Met Tower and the new, adjacent building are being transformed into a world-class commercial hub for tech and digital businesses of all sizes to co-locate and benefit from being part of an innovative, collaborative tech cluster.
  • Briggait: £1.6 million investment to create a vibrant and engaging frontage to the River Clyde, providing a flexible, sustainable creative hub, and bringing a market space to the under used space inside.
  • Hielanman’s Umbrella: Environmental upgrades including new shop-fronts, lighting, installation of contemporary art and elements of greenery. £300K.

The council states that it has established a new approach to managing regeneration activity, with a new development team "working to proactively identify solutions for key sites and deliver the actions plan in the new City Centre Strategy".

A statement continues: "Since 2019, Glasgow city centre has received significant public sector investment (over £200million) and £120million is already committed to ongoing projects that will span the duration of the new strategy.  Plans for a revamped George Square will be delivered over the next two years, with a city centre greening programme planned and the transformation of key streets such as Sauchiehall Street Precinct and Argyle Street underway in 2024 as part of the Avenues project."

Priority areas for development include Garnethill and Sauchiehall Street, Cowcaddens, Townhead, St Enoch, Broomielaw and a Learning Quarter clustered around Strathclyde University.

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Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, said the new strategy was already translating into actions.  He said: “Over the decades, Glasgow has shown itself to be a master at reinvention and the latest stage of that reinvention is now well and truly underway.  We know that investors have had confidence in Glasgow and this is being borne out with what we’re seeing coming on-stream.

“In the next few years Glaswegians can expect to see a lot more activity going on in the city centre.  Some of this regeneration work may cause disruption, but this is about securing the city centre’s future as the beating heart of Glasgow for years to come.”

Following public consultation, the City Centre Strategy 2024-30 was considered and approved by a council committee today. 

The committee report noted the impact of the pandemic and growth in virtual working, online retail, distance learning, and changes in consumer behaviour in limiting the city centre’s progress but also in bringing forward change.  But it also highlighted that in 2022 Glasgow recorded its highest ever levels of foreign investment, with forecasts showing strong expansion demand in several key sectors within the city centre including accommodation and food, with professional, scientific and technical activities also projected to grow.

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The report stated that demand for new office space has bounced back, with employers taking forward new high-end working environments to attract staff back to the workplace post-pandemic.

Work to support the recovery of city centre footfall continues, with the latest weekend footfall figures reaching pre-pandemic levels, and night-time footfall in January 2024 standing at 14% higher than January 2020.   

The report to today’s City Administration Committee stated: ‘While some sectors continue to face significant economic pressures, many are adapting with developers keen to deliver high quality commercial outcomes and bringing substantial investment to the city.  The private sector will be critical to the delivery of the city centre vision over the coming years, not least due to their stake in property and site ownership, and the CCS will continue to promote a collaborative and partnership-focused approach to city centre regeneration.’

The new strategy will be overseen by the City Centre Taskforce, co-chaired by Councillor Millar and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick, and with input from the public and private sectors.

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Councillor Millar added: “No-one is under any illusion as to the scale of our challenges, but the pieces of the city centre jigsaw are now falling into place, and people in the city will really start to see that.  And the consultation responses show that the public are behind us: from bigger-picture aims such as doubling the city centre population, giving new purpose to the Clyde and delivering on our net zero ambitions through to routine issues of cleanliness.  We’re working together to build a city centre for the future while making sure the city centre of now is the best it can be.”

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “As part of the City Centre Task Force, it is encouraging to see projects such as the Golden Z review, the avenues project and our recommendations on empty units all taken forward as part of this refreshed strategy.  Private investment will be critical to turning around the fortunes of our city centre and we want to attract even more projects like those currently under development such as the Love Loan building, Candleriggs Square and the JP Morgan office development.  We look forward to working with the Council and other partners in implementing this strategy.”

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