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Tentative BTR moves gain momentum in Glasgow

April 23 2020

Tentative BTR moves gain momentum in Glasgow
Chris Stewart Group has rethought plans to build a mixed-use complex off George Square, Glasgow, by swapping out proposed student accommodation for mainstream residential accommodation at Love Loan.
A formal amendment by Hoskins Architects seeks to change the use if a 20-storey tower (block D) on Martha Street to build to rent flats, including several facade revisions such as additional west-facing windows. As before the tower will be finished in grey brick with precast concrete string courses delineating each floor.
Outlining a cautious approach in light of marginal expected profits the developer concedes that the homes will not meet maximum energy efficiency standards, by omitting a district heating solution in favour of electric panels and gas-fired boilers. CSG Projects wrote: "The economic viability of development of large scale residential in Glasgow city centre is marginal, at best, as evidenced by the lack of development over the last 10 years.  As yet, no new build BTR developments are underway. Buchanan Wharf is likely to be the first, but its viability is not proven, as it is a small part of a much larger development.
"Meeting the Gold Standard requirements in full is not economically viable for Block D, and it is unlikely to be economically viable for most residential and BTR schemes in Glasgow for the foreseeable future. This is due largely to relatively low rental values and high costs of construction."
In a statement championing the changes, Scott Hobbs Planning added: "The residential (BTR) development proposed at block D contains 50% dual aspect apartments, however, the quality of the outlook for these single aspect flats will be unsurpassed in the city centre, with upper floors, in particular, enjoying panoramic views across the city."
In all block D will now comprise 136 flats and 700sq/m of commercial space, joined by a further 12 flats on the upper floors of 280 George Street.


#1 Posted by Mikey on 23 Apr 2020 at 11:28 AM
Should be declined if it can't meet proper environmental standards frankly. Classic example of profit before people and planet.
#2 Posted by Nigel on 23 Apr 2020 at 15:18 PM
Define "proper" Mikey - surely any development has to conform to building regulations - is that not the level at which "proper" starts? Out of interest, how many buildings going up today meet "Gold standards"?? (serious question from an ignoramus)
#3 Posted by David on 23 Apr 2020 at 15:57 PM
In two minds about this one. Would love to see it built as I think it would genuinely make a positive impact to the built environment of central Glasgow, especially with the latest amendments that further improve the design.

However if Glasgow wants to be a carbon zero city by 2030, surely this development would be detrimental to that? I also think painting out Glasgow as some small regional town where developments have a weak or marginal economic viability is utterly ridiculous when it is the largest city in the country with the most lucrative market; as evidenced by the number of large projects on site or in development compared to other cities in Scotland.
#4 Posted by Ross on 24 Apr 2020 at 10:27 AM
Yes, the developer is at it with their reasoning behind their complete lack of care for meeting the environmental standards here.

If they felt the development wasn't going to make a profit then they simply wouldn't proceed with it and certainly wouldn't get the funding; which the vast majority of large PRS schemes in Glasgow now have.

I hope the council tell them where to go.
#5 Posted by Gordy on 24 Apr 2020 at 10:50 AM
Build to rent simply allows the haves to further enslave the have nots......the design professions should not be facilitating this travesty of social justice.
Substance over Style
#6 Posted by Substance over Style on 24 Apr 2020 at 11:22 AM
Welcome to the Communist State of Scotland where developers should not be allowed to make a profit.
Much better to have a big empty site sitting there
No wonder Scotland’s Economy lags so far behind

Steve Jobs
#7 Posted by Steve Jobs on 24 Apr 2020 at 11:36 AM
#5 don’t disagree about your point regarding Haves and Have Nots and the wider injustices with the housing market. But to lump design professionals into this as somehow part of the problem is completely unfair. The inequalities in the housing market requires government intervention, investment and leadership, anything else is simply scratching the surface.
#8 Posted by wonky on 24 Apr 2020 at 12:47 PM
I'm skeptical as to whether BTR will ever be as big here as it is in the big regional English cities such as Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds, as we have coherent densified urban areas like the West End, Pollokshields-GH-Shawlands-Battlefield or Dennistoun/as well as a city centre easily convertible to high density residential.
But of course there must be a market in a city the size of Glasgow. The BTR market seems to be largely marketed to young professionals or those with large disposable incomes so I don't think this is a case of exploitation of 'social injustices'- and of course this is a central issue for a massively unequal society in general. Gap sites need filled & these sorts of projects are key to that. If these sorts of projects do go ahead I just hope we don't end up looking like Manchester, with its adhoc construction of poor design towers randomly jotted hither & tither. London has also been disfigured & defaced with this approach on an even larger scale.
If Glasgow does eventually go skyward I just hope we allow it to be in key cluster areas such as Broomielaw, SECC, or outwith the central conservation area- if we're going for densification I would much prefer an emulation of Spanish cities like Bilbao- we need to fill the gaps with traditional blocks as an extension of the areas in the city already mentioned such as Hillhead/Garnethill etc.
Personally my only gripe with this project was the destruction of the old Dumfriesshire sandstone John Street Registry Offices/those imposing old door ways could have been retained as a ground-level facade.
#9 Posted by Cadmonkey on 24 Apr 2020 at 15:23 PM
Why Post-Grenfell are architects designing residential towers with residential accommodation 22 storeys high served with a single escape stair?
Absolutely pathertic.
#10 Posted by Daniel on 27 Apr 2020 at 12:28 PM
Classic "we have overpaid for the site based on our previous scheme" plea there.

Hard to tell how to take this really. BTR is a better option imho that individual/amateur landlords and this would get something moving on a site. Not sure important environmental policy requirements should be trumped by a developer overpaying for land though.
Substance over Style
#11 Posted by Substance over Style on 28 Apr 2020 at 07:52 AM
I'm sure you guys all thoroughly understand the financial implications and differences between Gold Standard, Silver Active and Silver Standard ?

im sure none of you would be sitting in your ivory towers throwing stones

Thought not
#12 Posted by Cadmonkey on 28 Apr 2020 at 10:26 AM
#11 Substance
What has that got to do with fire safety?
#13 Posted by Bobbie on 29 Apr 2020 at 13:22 PM
#12 - Fire safety? forget it. GCC just have recently blocked the frontage of massive apartment block in Dennistoun based on some fake reports from building management. Most of the flats have windows (fire escape route) facing this blocked side. No direct access to fire services. Anyone cares? You're right - let them burn.
#14 Posted by Christo70x on 3 Jun 2020 at 17:49 PM
If they cannot build safe, sustainable , maximum energy efficiency don’t build anything..

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