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Egyptian Halls face demolition threat

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March 4 2011

Egyptian Halls face demolition threat
An impasse over funding for a conversion of Glasgow’s Egyptian Halls has failed to be broken, despite a recent public consultation (for those who missed it a digital summary is available.)

Dundonian property developer Derek Souter, who claims to have sunk £5m into purchasing leases on the property over a 13 year period, harbours ambitious plans to convert the ailing structure into a hotel.

These efforts have been stymied by a lack of cash however with Souter claiming there is a funding shortfall of £5.3m – needed to repair damage incurred during the buildings long hibernation before work can even begin on the £20m conversion.

Thus far the Scottish Government has put half that figure, £2.65m, on the table.

If the difference fails to materialise Souter has said he will pursue a new build scheme for an 11 storey, 200 bed hotel by demolishing the Alexander Thomson masterpiece.

Sources indicate that ownership of the structure is split between the Union Street Properties, who own the ground floor and Union Street Investments, which owns the upper floors. Originally a cross subsidy was offered by USI to USP to cover the higher renovation costs for the street facing units but this was rescinded following advice from Historic Scotland to seek a commercial solution. 

USP will now lodge a separate application this week for a new build on the site as it cannot survive financially with the current deficit, although this will be opposed by USI and the Government with Souter states that he is still “offering to collaborate effectively, until all avenues and options have been exhausted.”

4 Comments

Grecian Ern
#1 Posted by Grecian Ern on 5 Mar 2011 at 00:58 AM
Any attempt to demolish the Thomson masterpiece MUST be answered with a free ticket to Libya where the proposer can sit with that other nutcase and talk about denocratic freedoms and the architectural merit of the Bedouin tent.
I grew up with Greek Thomson. We must not allow that heritage to disappear.
Robert Bell
#2 Posted by Robert Bell on 23 Jul 2011 at 15:17 PM
Important examples like this of Glasgow's Victorian heritage must not be lost. The last thing the centre of Glasgow needs is a characterless concrete monstrosity. This is one of the first sights many visitors will see of Glasgow on emerging from the Central Station.
William J McCreath
#3 Posted by William J McCreath on 24 Sep 2011 at 21:47 PM
If other european countries can rebuild their war torn cities to the extent that they have over the past 65 years, surely Britain should be able to make an attempt to save any building, particularly in this more enlightened era, with the architectural merit of the Egyption Halls. With hundreds of millions of pounds being talked about to complete the tram system in Edinburgh, the £3/4 million required to help to restore this wonderful building is a drop in the ocean. It is also most galling that the building is in risk, when there are other buildings (early 19th century) in Union Street of mediocre quality, which are not at risk at all. Is Glasgow once again going to be condemed as the city with great architecture but cannot even summon the resorces to save its best buildings. Elgin Place church was the last one to go, what will be next after Egyption Halls!! I just feel like crying and I am 66 years old!
Robert
#4 Posted by Robert on 24 Sep 2011 at 22:25 PM
Indeed William, Egyptian Halls should never be allowed to go, but I fear the worst.

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