Glasgow City Council targets three city centre areas to be redeveloped

Several sites on Sauchiehall Street have been identified to be transformed as part of Glasgow’s Golden Z plan

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Three problem sites in Glasgow’s city centre shopping areas are to be redeveloped as “doing nothing is not an option” according to a council report.

The council is looking at ideas to re-invent three areas of focus which are the former ABC site adjoining the Glasgow School of Art and the old BHS, Watt Brothers and former Victoria’s nightclub plot on Sauchiehall Street. The third vacant area being examined is the TJ Hughes site near Trongate.

They are part of a huge vision for Glasgow’s Golden Z historic shopping parades of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. Ideas for the ABC site include new building accommodation for a potential music venue, student homes or space for the Glasgow School of Art. A new public green space for Sauchiehall Street is also being put forward.

The O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street is another site which has been pinpointed.  The O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street is another site which has been pinpointed.
The O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street is another site which has been pinpointed.

The future of the BHS Building, the site of the former Victoria’s Nightclub and the Watt Brothers department store in Argyle Street is also being debated. Options put forward include the BHS property seeing the creation of a building for a foodhall, rooftop bar, offices and community and exhibition space. The former Victoria’s nightclub site could be home to a new building such as a hotel or places to live. Ideas for the B listed former Watt Brothers store include a workplace or hotel.

A number of potential proposals have been suggested for the Trongate South TJ Hughes Area including a ‘creative hub’ with an urban farm. The creation of a park has also been suggested. The ideas are only at a concept stage with no firm plans in place and are “without the benefit of a depth of collaboration with owners and statutory authorities.”

Glasgow’s city administration committee approved the content of the vision and plan for the Golden Z on Thursday. Objectives included the creation of world-class public spaces, improving connnectivity and accessibility and appealing to a more diverse range of people. The creation of a Sauchiehall Cultural District is to be explored.

SNP councillor Angus Millar, convener for city centre recovery at Glasgow City Council, said: “Sauchiehall, Argyle and Buchanan Streets have long been at the heart of the city centre experience, but these key thoroughfares have been increasingly impacted by the major structural economic changes that are affecting city centres everywhere.

“Having a particular focus on this historic shopping area will help ensure it adapts to the changing retail sector and takes the opportunities coming its way. The actions within the plan for the ‘Golden Z’ will support our efforts to encourage a more diverse mix of uses in the city centre, including new residential accommodation, as well as finding positive solutions for key sites and supporting the repurposing of vacant property.”

Labour Group Leader Councillor George Redmond said: “Glasgow Labour supports plans for the ‘Golden Z’, but we urge the council to take a proactive approach in engaging with local businesses, developers, and stakeholders to ensure that our city centre remains as open and accessible as possible, even in light of the impacts of COVID and the cost-of-living crisis.

”It is essential that the council has a strong and effective delivery plan that involves all of the city’s partners in taking the city centre forward. This should entail engaging with building and planning professionals to make sure the development is executed as efficiently as possible. The council must produce a full economic impact assessment on the proposals to ensure all plans are viable.”