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'Unsustainable' St Enoch Centre to be demolished in a radical 20-year vision

September 20 2021

'Unsustainable' St Enoch Centre to be demolished in a radical 20-year vision

Asset manager Sovereign Centros has opened a public consultation into a long-term 20-year 'vision' for Glasgow's St Enoch Centre. The ambitious road map will pivot the centre away from retail towards a broader mix of uses including entertainment, 1,700 homes, offices and a four-star hotel of 290 rooms over 25 storeys.

The 2.5m sq/ft plan begins with the repurposing of the former Debenhams department store as 250,000sq/ft of grade A office space, including co-working facilities, before turning to tackle the St Enoch Square frontage. Subsequent phases would proceed in an anti-clockwise direction turning to Howard Street next and finally the eastern section - which has only just been refitted as a Vue Cinema. In this way, existing tenants can continue to operate throughout.

The latest plan represents a significant shift in thinking from as recently as 2017, when owners envisaged further extension of available floorspace along Argyle Street. Now the intent is to move away from a single monolithic mass toward a more flexible mix of routes, spaces and accommodation by opening blocked streets to improve connections south to the river - as well as east-west routes between the city centre and a planned Reuben Brothers scheme.

By reinstating long-forgotten historic streets a public realm opportunity will arise including a raised multi-level space suitable for events and community activities as well as a civic square.

In a statement, Sovereign Centros warned that the current concrete structure had very little capacity for re-use, hampered further by a very poor energy rating, saying: "St. Enoch Centre is an iconic Glasgow building, but it is not sustainable.

"We know that experience-led destinations that have strong food and leisure options, as well as a great retail offer, have become more popular. We also know that how and where people like to live has shifted, as we seek connectivity and convenience."

Leslie Jones Architecture is leading the masterplan with landscape architects Oobe and consultants Iceni Projects, Woolgar Hunter and Atelier Ten.

A planning application for the Debenhams building is expected in November with an application for planning in principle for the broader scheme following by spring 2022, ahead of detailed proposals in the summer. 

A 'unique' performance space would serve as a honey pot for the revitalised district
A 'unique' performance space would serve as a honey pot for the revitalised district
Dating from 1989 the monolithic concrete and glass structure stands as its own island, disconnected from the city around it
Dating from 1989 the monolithic concrete and glass structure stands as its own island, disconnected from the city around it

7 Comments

Sir Ano
#1 Posted by Sir Ano on 20 Sep 2021 at 10:25 AM
Yes please.
Roddy_
#2 Posted by Roddy_ on 20 Sep 2021 at 15:04 PM
Och bless…Someone’s clearly had a wee go at urban design over lunchtime. What looks like the demolition of the Buck’s Head Building seems inadvisable to me -as does the wind-tunnel-triangular-plaza with the hovering UFO in it. Not certain if a huge plaza in front of Marks and Spencer’s that is open to Stockwell Street is particularly strategically clever either.
I think if you’re going to do this type of public canvassing- at the very least present them with something vaguely coherent and of quality. Even for a feasibility ‘sketch’ this is insulting…
fava
#3 Posted by fava on 22 Sep 2021 at 00:53 AM
Good. After that demolish the Forge too and restore decent urban density.
ken
#4 Posted by ken on 22 Sep 2021 at 10:56 AM
Usual disappointing and inappropriate design with unnecessary density, given there are numerous city center brownfield sites which have been there 30+ years. You can forget the "public realm" space and "cafe culture" etc. Given the building heights plus orientation, everything will be shaded here and there will be wind tunnels.
modernish
#5 Posted by modernish on 22 Sep 2021 at 11:52 AM
@#4 Don't worry when GCC planning get a hold of this they'll bog it down for such a long period of time this'll be a 30+ years derelict building!
JohnMF
#6 Posted by JohnMF on 24 Sep 2021 at 10:38 AM
Could whatever is built to replace the St Enoch Centre be mandated to use zero-carbon concrete? After all, this is Glasgow, city of COP26.
City fabric
#7 Posted by City fabric on 24 Sep 2021 at 13:07 PM
phases 1-2 are relatively reasonable, but it is important that the larger structure remains as it is a valuable part of the site highlighting the historical development and breaking up the rigid city grid..

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