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Egyptian Halls redevelopment options published

April 25 2011

Egyptian Halls redevelopment options published
Dundonian property developer Derek Souter has published his “final opportunity” plans to regenerate Glasgow’s Egyptian Halls, warning that demolition is on the cards if the impasse can’t be broken.

It puts forward a rationale to demolish the A listed structure, a plan which would see the Thomson masterpiece swept away for an 12 storey, 225 bed ‘Egyptian Halls Hotel’ designed by the Morrisson Partnership. This is centred on the “non viability” for Union Street Properties to fund the redevelopment whilst retaining the Halls owing to current economic situation.

The report notes: “If such circumstances do not improve in the short to medium term then there is a strong likelihood that development based upon retention of the existing building as an Hotel and other complementary Leisure and Retail uses will not get underway for many years. The longer those circumstances continue, it is increasingly unlikely such a project will happen. In which case the only option will be a New Build Development.”

USP stated that they did not "dispute at all that The Egyptian Halls is without doubt a hugely important, iconic building" adding that "demolition would not be ordinarily considered. However this is an extraordinary building, which has required extraordinary intervention for a long, long time now. The Scottish Government have stated they won’t become involved so the only other alternative becomes the ONLY alternative!”

Structural engineer John Addison said: “There has been a progressive erosion of all the "positive" elements which had at one time made this project viable in terms of a "conservation" approach rather than the previous "gut and stuff" one which would end up with all internals replaced leaving perhaps only the front facade.”

Both USP and USI insist that the demolition proposals have been prompted by Scottish Government advice to treat the Halls as “a wholly commercial project”. Advice which led to USP tabling the  proposal which would result from the withdrawal of any subsidy offered by USI, which is itself opposing the USP plans.

USI insists that a funding gap, which was as low as £3m, could be bridged by the business rates accrued within the first decade of redevelopment.

Souter told Urban Realm: “As developers for the past 13 years USP & USI have managed to secure the foundations and the controlling ownership interest, which should have already saved the Egptian Halls. However this has not yet been achieved due primarily to the absence of joined up effective government.”

Further discussion is invited on the developments official Facebook page.


#1 Posted by philistine on 25 Apr 2011 at 15:05 PM
Now Yer Talking! Nice Work
Greek T
#2 Posted by Greek T on 25 Apr 2011 at 15:14 PM
It's really up to an owner to look after a listed building, isn't it? It's not the role of the government to step in. Oh look here's a petition to save the Egyptian Halls:-
#3 Posted by Lors on 25 Apr 2011 at 16:40 PM
This building is not a patch on the halls that are there at the moment, lets restore and value the heritage that our city has, not demolish and replace with this sort of unimaginative design!
Greek T
#4 Posted by Greek T on 25 Apr 2011 at 19:19 PM
No reason to think it would receive permission is there? Pretty terrible design and scare tactics? No doubt if the owners gave the building to a Preservation Trust or similar heritage and other funding could be found. As it is, a commercial project for a private owner doesn't cut any mustard where public funding is concerned.
David Brodie
#5 Posted by David Brodie on 26 Apr 2011 at 13:32 PM
The former Upper Floor owners refused to comply with all LBRN notices and eventually had to be CPO'd. During the 30+ years it took to achieve this; costs and deterioration increased and commercial funding has disappeared. The developers and GCC and HS are left trying to account for 3 decades of dereliction during the worst recession for 80 years.a
Auntie Nairn
#6 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 26 Apr 2011 at 13:40 PM
Look, Glasgow doesn't give two hoots about it's architectural heritage, as so many articles on this website demonstrate. Therefore, just demolish the Egyptian Halls and build this monstrosity - it's no more than Glasgow deserves.
The Bairn
#7 Posted by The Bairn on 26 Apr 2011 at 22:02 PM
After a quick check of the calendar to make sure its not the 1st of the month. This is a wind up right? I was half expecting to see a roof top plant room shaped like a (Tommy Cooper) Fez!! Shame on all concerned.
#8 Posted by Jimbo on 27 Apr 2011 at 09:14 AM
The quote "current economic situation" is, in my humble opinion, the crux of it. There's no reason that demo should be allowed just because it doesn't currently stack up. Recession does not legitimise crap development. Also, providing you can get funding which I acknowledge is no mean feat, the hotel market in Glasgow is strong just now compared to other sectors. As Greek T says above (first comment), you buy it, you look after it.
David Brodie
#9 Posted by David Brodie on 27 Apr 2011 at 18:42 PM
This has been going on since 1980! And finally there was a CPO on the Upper Floors from 1995 till late 2009 due to the former owners refusing to discharge their Listed Building Repairs Notice obligations. The current owners USP Ltd and USI Ltd co-operated fully with GCC/HS to attempt to expedite this during this period. However the former owners managed to delay and delay, hence the deterioration, the decline and the now massive costs. Go online and read the background to the application to demolish. This will become eventually a case history on how to improve the use of CPO's and LBRN's
#10 Posted by h.a. on 12 May 2011 at 09:22 AM
I can't believe day we won't be surprised if someoned applied to knock down edinburgh castle to build a hotel
Zeus McOlympus
#11 Posted by Zeus McOlympus on 21 May 2011 at 02:33 AM
And so it is writ in the book of Dideeez, of the Transgressional Abominators :

Weegians of the Glas, Aberdonites, Edinburnites and even un to ye Dundonites: suffer ye not false profits.

To those who would rejoice in the desecration of the Temple of the Union of the Streets, unto them shall a righteous plague of frogs, locusts, boils, meerkats, egregious flatulence and tax return audits triumph most instantaneous.

Smiting thereof shall commence, and a great gnoshing of the teeth shall be, should such destruction be decreed by any mortal.

Whenceforth shall come even greater gnoshing, should the peoples of the 'Go succumb to the false profits of The Dosh.

Lest ye sinners (including thereof ye simple peoples of ye development) rejoice in ye destruction of mine consecrated pad of ye city, verily a great smiting of righteous smitingness shall there be.

For it is written: ye city avenged shall be, for trangressions of architectural hideosity.

PS That's me back.
Horus O'Sirus
#12 Posted by Horus O'Sirus on 21 May 2011 at 02:39 AM
Your tea's oot.

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