£140m super city plaza

22 Aug 2007

Evening Times, exclusive by Vivienne Nicol

Earlier this year, the Evening Times revealed the former Albany Hotel in Bothwell Street would be flattened to make way for the £140million Bothwell Plaza project.

The demolition of the Albany, which opened in 1973 and has latterly been operating as a Holiday Inn, marks the end of one of the city's oldest chain hotels.

In its place, Aberdeen-based hotel owner European Development Company (EDC) plans to build a four-star Crowne Plaza, with 300 bedrooms, a three-star Express by Holiday Inn, with 275 bedrooms, a 14-storey office block and a top restaurant.

The Bothwell Plaza building will also feature a brasserie, two-floor piano bar, luxury spa, health and fitness facilities and conference centre.

The office block, which will front on to Douglas Street, will have around 150,000sq ft of space, with a cafe/bar and coffee shop on the ground floor.

The development will also open up views of the dramatic Alexander Greek Thomson church, used by the congregation of St Vincent Street Free Church.

Glasgow architects SMC Jenkins and Marr have designed the two hotels and offices, which will be built around a European-style plaza offering lunchtime orchestral recitals, fashion shows and other outdoor activities.

With more than £1m invested in lighting for the building, EDC hopes to create a development which will be a first for Scotland.

EDC director Ivor Finnie said: "We want to light the whole of this development in a way that has never been seen in Scotland and indeed very infrequently in the UK.

"The best example of this can be seen at the Centre Building in Hong Kong and the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai."

Bulldozers have already started demolishing the existing Holiday Inn City West to make way for the complex.

The Albany was a famous fixture on the Glasgow social scene for decades and for several years was regarded as the city's top hotel.

Mr Finnie said he hoped the new development would retain the same charm.

He said: "We know how popular the Albany was as a venue for local people and for visitors to Glasgow.

"What we are planning is a completely new development that will carry with it the charm and attraction of the Albany to provide a first-class hotel and conference centre for Glasgow, Scotland and the UK."

It's estimated the development will create 250 hotel jobs, 1800 office jobs and around 1000 construction jobs.

The Crowne Plaza, which will be in addition to that chain's existing hotel at the SECC, will have a whole floor of meeting rooms and a purpose-built function suite, making it the largest hotel facility in Glasgow, catering for up to 1400 people.

The offices are among the largest planned in the city and developers say they will be five-star standard.

Building work is due to start at the end of this year, with the new Plaza to be completed by spring 2010.

The hotels would become EDC's first in Glasgow. The firm also owns two Holiday Inns and one Express by Holiday Inn in Aberdeen and an Express by Holiday Inn in Edinburgh.

Intercontinental Hotels is behind the famous brands Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza but has moved to a greater focus on managing or franchising hotels rather than owning them.

STEVE Inch, city council executive director of development and regeneration, said: "The hotel site is considered to be under-developed given its city centre location and the density of development in the area.

"The development will add to the city's offices and hotels and is in line with the council's own regeneration policy for the city centre."

The council owns the land for the new building and on Friday councillors will be asked to agree a substantial increase in the rent charged.

EDC is expected to lodge a planning application for the project within the next week.


Reproduced with the permission of the Evening Times (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • Location of the new Bothwell Plaza in the IFSD