Will the Buchanan Galleries be demolished? Latest on plans to revamp shopping centre

What is the future of the Buchanan Galleries?

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Serving as a book-end for Glasgow’s “Style Mile”, Buchanan Galleries has been a magnet for city shoppers since it was erected in 1999.

As the high street reels in the wake of the pandemic and consumer habits change plans are now in place to demolish the mall and transform the area into an “urban neighbourhood” complete with homes, retail, restaurants, and office space.

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So what exactly are the plans and how likely are they to come to fruition?

Will the Buchanan Galleries be demolished?

Buchanan Galleries could be demolished if the plans go ahead.

David Heaford, managing director of development at Landsec, the site developer said “our vision is to replace the existing shopping centre” meaning there is no place for the mall in current plans.

While plans are still at a concept stage Glasgow City Council is now in negotiations with developers.

The pair have already worked together on the current proposal and the council has made clear that the vision aligned with their own plans for the city centre.

It read: “The initial proposals show a net-zero development, responding directly to the national Climate Emergency agenda, and also aligning with the council’s City Centre Strategy, the City Centre Strategic Development Framework, the City Development Plan, and the City Centre Recovery Plan, all of which champion a move away from mono-use zones in favour of multi-functional experiential infrastructure and planning uses that will provide a more sustainable and resilient outcome for Glasgow.”

It also underlined: “any comprehensive redevelopment of the Galleries would require the approval of the council in its capacity as head landlord.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, has indicated that she is supportive of the plans.

She said: “Glasgow, like town and city centres everywhere, is facing significant and accelerating structural changes. These initial proposals detail a response to those changes, ensuring Glasgow has a vibrant, successful and evolving city centre which continues to be the envy of our peers.

“Approval for the commencement of negotiations with Landsec would allow us to push ahead with addressing oncoming challenges and opportunities in this rapidly changing world.

“The transformation of the Buchanan Galleries can be a vote of confidence on Glasgow’s future.”

What are the plans for Buchanan Galleries?

Commercial property development company Landsec have outlined proposals to substitute the shopping centre for a mixed-use area or “urban neighbourhood”.

A future site would be made up of shops, offices and accommodation.

Work on the new site would take ten years, starting in 2023.

The managing director of development at Landsec, David Heaford, said: “Cities around the world are learning to adapt to the public’s changing habits and we want to help Glasgow to be well-positioned to do the same.

“Our vision is to replace the existing shopping centre with an exciting new mixed-use urban neighbourhood in the heart of Glasgow city centre, blending world-class shopping with places to work, live and play.

“Our plans will seek to extend the city’s iconic and accessible grid layout, support the city’s net zero ambitions and be informed by the needs and views of local people, visitors and businesses.”

Would the revamp create jobs?

Proposals indicate that the creation of the new space could create 850 construction jobs, eventually leading to 9,500 permanent jobs for the city centre.

Louise Norris, a city-based commercial property partner at legal firm Lindsays, believes the redevelopment would be an “exciting prospect” for businesses.

She said: “I would expect there to be healthy interest from investors looking to become part of what could emerge from the Buchanan Galleries area, both in terms of developing and setting up businesses there. It’s an exciting prospect.

“Just look at the transformation of the Merchant City in recent times as an example of what can be achieved to create a welcoming, successful area. There’s an opportunity to deliver that on a wider scale.

“A joined-up approach with everything else going on throughout the city centre will be an important part of wider success for the city, though. By taking holistic action across the whole area — from Sauchiehall Street, down Buchanan Street to Argyll Street — there’s a chance to have developments which compliment each other and create a great overall experience.

“Hopefully the plans for Buchanan Galleries and the St Enoch Centre can really unlock that potential.”