'Unsustainable' St Enoch Centre to be demolished in a radical 20-year vision
September 20 2021
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.
Dating from 1989 the monolithic concrete and glass structure stands as its own island, disconnected from the city around it
Back to September 2021
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