'St Enoch Street' to push Glasgow's centre of retail gravity south
April 21 2022
A detailed masterplan for the redevelopment of Glasgow's St Enoch Centre has been filed by real estate giant Sovereign Centros, centred on the first new city centre street to be formed since its formation.
The large-scale redevelopment would sweep aside the current glass shopping mall, designed by GMW Architects and opened in 1989, to reduce reliance on retail and open up the introverted plot for renewal. A range of reasons are given for pursuing a blank slate solution as set out by Leslie Jones Architecture and Woolgar Hunter, not the least of which is that the current centre is a bespoke structure designed exclusively for retail.
The applicant also observes that the foundations do not extend to the bedrock and the low headroom provided in the basement and car park limits alternative use cases. On the other hand, demolition will open up three city blocks for integration within the city grid, built out in a phased process of demolition and construction to minimise disruption.
Central to the aspirations of the masterplan is to re-establish St Enoch Square as a focal point by re-establishing an urban wall to the east, lost when St Enoch Station was demolished in 1974. Deeper within the site a greater mix of uses will be catered for through the provision of a new public space acting as a counterweight to the square along an east to west 'St Enoch Street'.
Retail will be focussed upon the ground floor frontages of this axis of greatest footfall, freeing up much of the remainder of the site for a mix of leisure, offices and homes with enhanced amenities including south-facing green roof terraces with pedestrianised streets serving as multifunctional spaces. Standing a generous 20m wide the street will be reserved exclusively for foot, cycle and service use and includes an 8m wide landscaped buffer tended to by landscape architects Oobe peppered by sculptural 'rain catchers'. Supplementary spaces would include a variety of interior public courtyards for public and private use with some 150 trees to be planted to soften the environment.
In a statement, the applicant wrote: "From a masterplan and city space point of view the aim is to create porosity and connectivity with the Clyde and the urban grain. This is important for the regeneration of the dark spaces created in the shadow of the centre and additionally people density is fundamental to ensure our cities thrive.
"This is a clear site where the city suffers from a low density and to increase it would not only help regenerate the area but reduce the impact on the green belt. This is a unique opportunity to re-densify a part of Glasgow city centre."
At the head of the plan will be a 'marker building' over 20 floors to anchor the development on the right angle axis when drawing a triangle between George Square and St Enoch Square. All in all between 844 and 1,700 homes could be built depending on the favoured accommodation mix with 2.5msq/ft of floor space being added to the city.