Hotel, offices and flats could be built on Merchant City car park, after plans approved

Major plans to transform King Street car park which could include a hotel, flats, shops or offices have been given the go-ahead.

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A firm controlled by the Reuben Brothers has been granted planning permission in principle for the city centre site.

It will need to secure council support for more detailed proposals in future but the initial plans show the project could create a “vibrant urban quarter”.

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“The redevelopment of the King Street Car Park site presents a unique opportunity to transform a part of the city centre that has been underutilised for decades,” the plans stated.

Vengada Estates, a company ultimately controlled by the Reuben Brothers, who have a property portfolio reportedly worth more than £18.6bn, is behind the application.

The plans for the Merchant City car park have been approved.

The land, bordered by King Street, Osborne Street, Stockwell Street, Bridgegate and Howard Street, has been used as a car park since the 1970s. It is currently operated by NCP but the developers claim the current use creates a “significant gap in the fabric of the city centre”.

They have reported four scenarios could be developed on the site, with “different proportions of employment, residential and leisure uses”. These include: residential-led with some offices, a balanced mix of residential and offices, a mix of flats and offices with a hotel or an “urban office campus” with some homes.

The applicants believe the site is “unique in its ability to support a variety of uses including residential, hotel and office”. “As such, a degree of flexibility is required within the application to enable the exact balance of different uses on the site to respond to market conditions over the delivery period.

“This flexibility is particularly necessary in the context of a post Covid-19 pandemic economy where the recovery of different property sectors is still to be determined.”

It is claimed a “mixed use development” will bring “significant benefits” to Glasgow, including new homes, an “active” neighbourhood, increased footfall which would benefit the economy and improved public spaces. The plans stated there is also potential for creative workspace, retail, food and drink uses and a hotel.

“This will create a vibrant urban quarter that is active throughout the day and evening hours. The mix of uses and activities on the site will be unified by a high quality and versatile public realm and active uses at ground floor. New streets and spaces will be informed by the distinct character of the wider Merchant City.”