Experts set out a vision for Glasgow

Type News

Date 25/06/2018

New focus on the riverfront, more rental homes and "pedestrian first" streets are among proposals.

On June 13, GVA Glasgow hosted a breakfast briefing in their new office space at Sutherland House with guest speakers from Invest Glasgow and Glasgow City Deal. As part of our Evolving Cities campaign the aim of the event was to launch the latest Glasgow Development Pipeline map and share with the audience our vision of the Glasgow of the future.

Looking forward five to ten years, there will be a rediscovered focus on the riverfront, a shift in the business core of the city, nearly doubling the number of hotel beds, and cars making way for pedestrians and bikes in some of our main avenues. More city centre living, particularly in new purpose built private rented sector homes to cater for the millennial generation workforce, and a smart city with improved connectivity and a wireless canopy covering all the main streets, are among the other projections.

The transformational effect of the Hydro - second only to London's O2 as a music venue - was reflected in a record year for hotels in 2017, with average occupancy at 82% exceeding that of London. An average room rate of £72 was the highest ever achieved. According to Andrew Renouf, Director in Hotels & Leisure at GVA, Glasgow had always been a strong short break and event destination but the Hydro has proved a game changer and the 15% increase in tourism into Scotland driven by a weak pound had benefited the 6,900 bedrooms provided in 54 hotels and serviced apartments on offer. The large pipeline potentially coming through equates to another 5,000 bedrooms and there are 900 additional bedrooms opening this year alone.

Business Space director Paul Broad said "2018 could also be a record year for the office market, reaching 800,000 sq ft instead of the ten year average of 575,000, despite being hamstrung by a lack of good quality supply. New build Grade A has dropped to only 30,000 sq ft - just a few pockets of space remain."

The next wave of Glasgow's office development is now underway, but it will be years before they are ready. A lot of schemes like Cadworks, The Grid and Atlantic Square are going to come through and take-up will peak in 2021/22/23. The scarcity will lead to a steep jump in headline rental figures from around £29.50 psf up to £34 or £35.

Looking ahead, the prime pitch could move southwards from Bothwell Street, with two major new developments in Cadogan Street, HMRC and speculative offices in Atlantic Square, the Argyle Street scheme on the former Jumeirah hotel site, and the large mixed use project across the water at Buchanan Wharf, Tradeston. The whole strip from the city centre to Finnieston is also ripe for residential and private rented sector development. Dandara are reshaping their scheme at the Kingston Bridge to look at PRS, there is Moda Living on the former Strathclyde Police HQ, Get Living is coming to Merchant City and Platform have just acquired three acres at Central Quay for 400 units.

Invest Glasgow confirmed they are looking to encourage more development towards the city's waterfront, with a major regeneration project at Custom House Quay and a great opportunity to transform the skyline on the other bank with Drum Property's Buchanan Wharf.

Derek Dunsire of Glasgow City Council explained the impact investment from the public sector was planning to make through its "Avenues" project. He too emphasised the authority was now taking forward the concept of a river park stretching from Glasgow Green to Partick. However, it was clear that the City Deal funded changes would not suit everyone. He said "We are redesigning the streetscapes in their entirety, with pedestrians first, cyclists second, public transport, then all other vehicles."

Another "visualisation" for the tail end of Argyle Street, "which died years ago", showed a reallocation of space discouraging motorists. Dunsire said "There is an incredible amount of space given over to individuals in their individual cars going through our city centre. In about three years' time there will be six major streets in Glasgow under reconstruction, including street lighting and the incorporation of a 4G network which will enable the city centre to be covered by a secure wireless canopy.

For more detail on the Glasgow development pipeline, please contact us for a copy of the latest map by emailing