Glasgow approves £390m Buchanan Galleries expansion

Glasgow City Council has approved a £390 million proposal to extend the city’s Buchanan Galleries shopping mall in a move which will see the much-loved steps outside Glasgow Royal Concert Hall demolished.

The approval gives planning permission for the erection of a mixed use development comprising of extensions to the existing Buchanan Galleries Shopping Centre, the demolition of the existing car park to make way for a new M&S store and cinema and the erection of a replacement on a site at Queen Street Station East.

The more contentious element of the BDP-designed development will see the Buchanan Street steps demolished to make way for a new ‘entrance atrium’ to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Buchanan Galleries on Buchanan Street and through route to the bus station.

Council leader, Gordon Matheson, said the development, along with the Buchanan Quarter TIF (Tax Increment Finance) scheme, will unlock over £300m of private sector investment for the city and deliver around 1,500 jobs.

He said: “We are justifiably proud in Glasgow city centre being the UK’s second biggest retail destination, but to ensure we remain in such a position new ways of attracting visitors and investors must be found. The expansion of the Galleries will help us to do so.”

Altogether the Buchanan Quarter TIF scheme and Buchanan Galleries expansion is expected to deliver a 392,000 sq ft expansion of the Buchanan Galleries; enable up to £80m of public infrastructure works and public realm improvements; create a new 1500-space car park at Queen Street Station with 35,000 sq ft of associated retail units; and provide 50,000 sq ft of new retail development at the southern end of the existing Buchanan Galleries site.

TIF (Tax Increment Finance) is a mechanism used to forward fund the public infrastructure necessary to support new commercial development. TIF seeks to capture additional non-domestic rates (NDR) revenue that would not arise without the delivery of the ‘enabling ‘infrastructure’ that is required to unlock the development, contributing to sustainable economic regeneration. The Buchanan Quarter TIF scheme is worth £80m.

Opponents to the plans had argued that the steps had come to belong to the people of Glasgow and did not want to see a popular landmark go.

But supporters say the changes will make it easier for disabled people to get into the concert hall, as the proposed new glass fronted atrium will have both lifts and a staircase to take pedestrians up to the foyer of the concert hall.

The Buchanan Quarter expansion is expected to go on-site in summer 2015.

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