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Sauchiehall Street food hall to embrace the Mack

February 13 2024

Sauchiehall Street food hall to embrace the Mack

Vita Group has revealed its early concept proposals for a combined food hall and student accommodation at Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

Embodying the purpose-built student accommodation provider's House of Social brand the development emphasises food, drink and music with a streetside performance space, connected to the Mackintosh building behind by a public courtyard. 371 student bed spaces will be provided above in a new build that treats the Sauchiehall Street frontage before the School of Art as one unified block.

Outlining the need to demolish a C-listed former cinema to make this happen Vita wrote: "With extensive fire damage to the ABC, retaining the building or its façade is not considered to be feasible due to the design, material condition, and strength validation challenges uncovered through a series of surveys and structural reports undertaken across the intervening period.

"The site demolition of both ABC and Jumpin Jaks does however offer the opportunity to develop a cohesive response for the site that interacts with both Sauchiehall Street and Glasgow School of Art as one unified city block."

Positioned as a key driver to help revitalise Glasgow's retail core the emerging design takes the form of a U-plan courtyard block intended to open up new perspectives of the south face of The Mack, accessed by a new lane. A sequence of stepped terraces rise from here, in response to both gables of the Mackintosh Building.

A planning application is expected to follow in April. 

Demolition will enable Vita to start from scratch with a unified frontage
Demolition will enable Vita to start from scratch with a unified frontage
The food court will establish an active frontage to the street
The food court will establish an active frontage to the street


#1 Posted by EM0 on 13 Feb 2024 at 10:08 AM
Same old Glasgow story! Pretend things aren't able to be saved, demolish and replace with another soulless block!! I sincerely hope this gets rejected!!
#2 Posted by Georwell84 on 13 Feb 2024 at 10:24 AM
#1 Agreed No Thank You!
devilish advocaat
#3 Posted by devilish advocaat on 13 Feb 2024 at 12:41 PM
#1 Totally Agree! I mean there aren't even any windows!!
#4 Posted by L on 13 Feb 2024 at 13:08 PM
FYI, there are public consultations on Feb 13 and 26th March between 3-7pm if you click on the link at the beginning ;) go make your opinion count!
#5 Posted by Heidfirst on 13 Feb 2024 at 14:13 PM
their roof terraces would need some kind of fall prevention (not shown) & the courtyard would be in almost permanent shadow cast by the proposed building. Another monolithic block, no doubt produced at least cost, we do not need.

Imo either the main ABC facade needs to be retained in any development proposal or a fascimile therof.
#6 Posted by NotANimbyJustHateYoungPeople on 13 Feb 2024 at 15:16 PM
Watching the local Garnethill NIMBYs develop a passion for architectural heritage in order to justify their inevitable objections to this is going to be hard to take.

Though, given what an obvious angle of attack it will be, I'm kinda surprised the developer didn't go for a facade retention. Maybe the lesson they've taken from the M&S fiasco is that it isn't worth bothering when Eva Bolander and her party colleagues on the PAC will vote to refuse anyway. They might think they are as well just going all-in, not try to compromise, and see what happens
town planner
#7 Posted by town planner on 13 Feb 2024 at 17:58 PM
Disappointing initial images, given the earlier sketches (link below). If there is one place where it makes some sense to reduce density of buildings facing onto Sauchiehall street it would be here, to provide a fuller view of the Mackintosh building. Would be a shame to lose the old ABC facade too.
G Man
#8 Posted by G Man on 13 Feb 2024 at 18:59 PM
This is wrong on so many fronts. Surely the iconic arch frontage should be kept. Also why the obsession with student accommodation? We need people in the city who are invested in the city and want to contribute long term. The student population is transient, contribute very little and of course do NOT pay council tax for the facilities they use in the city. Its a NO from me in this format.
#9 Posted by Roddy_ on 14 Feb 2024 at 01:29 AM
Preserving and enhancing the setting and special interest of the GSA and Conservation Area by flattening the entire site, increasing the existing 'ABC side' by at least 2 storeys and proposing 10 storeys on the 'Jumping Jacks' side does not seem like an entirely convincing strategy.
One also wonders about the legibility of the courtyard - how do I get in and what is the quality of light going to be like there? Given that this will be the back of the building, can we ensure active uses around the courtyard perimeter and all HVAC will be cleverly hidden from view? One wonders.
It is only a very conceptual scheme at the moment (morhpholio via Sketchup?) but these early large moves present something of a muddled narrative and the food court proposal seems plucked out of the ether.
Of course, these drawings are testing the water with both the public and NRS / HES with their height and scale - the developer will have insisted in order to max out the site - very possilbly over the counsel of the architects. I would expect to see a pared back proposal at the next stage.
For those who say the project is doomed to failure clearly haven't been paying attention to the Planning Review Committees. The caprice and general inconsistency of these mean that - despite the previous refusal and refusal at the M&S site -pretty much anything can happen.
#10 Posted by Unnecessary on 14 Feb 2024 at 09:29 AM
Something needs to happen with this site, but a foodcourt is probably the last thing, given how many empty restaurant units there are already along Sauchiehall Street. Besides, although the developers are selling it as 'foodcourt' it's pretty clear that it is really student accomodation, which has already been knocked back for the site. I don't see how this is any better- hopefully this will be rejected too!
Ghetto King
#11 Posted by Ghetto King on 14 Feb 2024 at 11:20 AM
if the facade cannot be saved why is it still here today if it is in such dangerous structural state of repair?
can the parties involved with the GSA and this build collaborate so that there is a more cohesive design?
However , I feel , and I don´t want to be negative , but unless G.C.C. can 'persuade' invested stakeholders who happen to be building on the same city block to collaborate for cohesive design then this feels like can´t be bothered to save anything that can be mixed in with get the student flats built ASAP.
#12 Posted by GMan on 14 Feb 2024 at 13:29 PM
Somebody appears to be using the name username as myself so this will be my last post on here.

Can't get away from re-planting the 1960's where it ended, the public finance disaster it was, looks like something someone at school could design, I expect there will be a lot of backlash at what was one of the prominent streets in Glasgow City Centre.
#13 Posted by RJB on 14 Feb 2024 at 14:04 PM
Fingered crossed something gets built there, feels a bit like walking past a graveyard at the moment . Not sure the courtyard is entirely necessary, it would be maybe a more fitting tribute to the art school and Sauchiehall Street if the scheme included artists flats with suitable studio space and cheap rents.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#14 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 14 Feb 2024 at 15:04 PM
OMG -- Terrible.
Filler we do not need.
Lego Block design vibe that offers no connection to what was there before.

Just an exercise in scaling the biggest block possible to maximise value in the present with no thought to the future.

60's style dross will be the outcome if we are lucky.
Paul North
#15 Posted by Paul North on 14 Feb 2024 at 21:48 PM
Why not create a museum of art nouveau and art deco, that is simply three stories high (no more) and allows the mac to be fully visible from Sauchiehall street? The public courtyard idea is just the developer monopolising the view for themselves to drive trade, the MAC needs to be opened up and shared with everyone, not hidden away again. Some form of light structure below that is glass and modern (perhaps something similar to the Reid Building that then shines light upwards to the MAC accentuating the architecture, with a rooftop terrace that can be used for events and entertainment of an evening.....?
James Hepburn
#16 Posted by James Hepburn on 15 Feb 2024 at 13:01 PM
Great! Another food outlet for Sauchiehall Street. More rubbish on the street in an already filthy city where the Council takes no responsibility at all.
John Russell
#17 Posted by John Russell on 15 Feb 2024 at 16:48 PM
You think they could save at least the former main entrance to the old ABC. As this marries in with the proposed new entrance to the new food hall. If not again another souless glass box.
#18 Posted by Lovely on 17 Feb 2024 at 17:21 PM
We really are heading towards Sim City and a bad version of it at that.

The 'food court' nonsense is just a smoke screen to distract you from a giant monolith of bedsits.

The inner public courtyard is a great idea but would need to be much better linked to the street with a wide well landscaped opening at the side and a cut through at the front to pull people in plus safe guards that it doesn't just get made privatised at some later date.

Maybe keep the ABC facade too just for fun as per most commenters wishes.

Perhaps the idea here is to make this whole area as dystopian as possible to attract more studios to use Glasgow's centre as a natural film set for more zombie apocalypse horror and dark future type sci-fi flicks?
#19 Posted by Mark on 17 Feb 2024 at 18:57 PM
What none of the commenters above realise is that this is a classic Trojan Horse project. They've revealed phase 1 of the food hall, but once complete it will be extended up the hill into the footprint of the other fire-ravaged ruin. Ingenious use of food retail and student cells to cross-subsidise Mackintosh restoration.
#20 Posted by Parkguy61 on 12 Apr 2024 at 12:20 PM
Will this effectively block any view of the Mac from Sauchiehall Street.

PS What IS happening about the Mac? Mac 3.0 in the pipeline?

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