Making room in River City

15 Mar 2007

Evening Times, by Iain Lundy

SNAP up the most exclusive addresses in Glasgow, put hotels on them and watch the cash roll in. A cunning ploy in a game of Monopoly? Maybe. It is also the latest plan along the River Clyde.

Developers want to build a number of upmarket hotels along the river banks, which are rapidly becoming the city's equivalent of the famous board game's Park Lane and Mayfair.

The rash of new hotels, from the city centre along to Braehead, comes in response to Glasgow's growing appeal as a visitor destination.

Good hotel rooms that meet the needs of the modern tourist or conference delegate are at such a premium they have to be booked months in advance.

The head of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau warned last week more quality hotels were essential if the city's renaissance was to continue.

Today, the Evening Times can reveal a major riverside site originally targeted for housing is now the subject of a planning application to be developed as a four-star hotel.

The plot, at 236-246 Clyde Street, houses a row of derelict town houses.

But the application, submitted to Glasgow City Council, reveals the buildings would be demolished and a 184-room hotel plus spa built there.

A further six hotels along the river banks are in the early planning stages or partly completed.

Other major hotels, such as the City Inn right next to the Squinty Bridge, also have plans to expand.

If all go ahead then Glasgow will have more than 1000 extra hotel beds and a rash of more luxury hotels - a major step forward in plugging what business leaders say is an estimated 3000 bed shortage.

Scott Taylor, chief executive of the Marketing Bureau, said: "Demand for city hotel bedrooms sometimes outstrips supply.

"We have been working with city partners and venture capitalists to remedy this. Potential investors know the scale of opportunity in Glasgow, and this is yielding positive results.

"With all the hotel developments planned, it would mean we could try to attract even larger conferences and events - with all the benefits they would bring to Glasgow's economy."

Also being marketed is the last major site in the city's International Financial Services District.

The Scottish Enterprise-owned site at 236 Broomielaw is being offered for sale by property agents Colliers CRE, with the preferred option a five-star hotel.

Stephen Lewis, director of regeneration with Colliers, said: "There are around 10,000 hotel rooms in Glasgow at the moment, but we need another 3000."

He said if all the hotel plans got the go-ahead then there would be a substantial increase over a short space of time.

Mr Lewis added: "There is certainly a large demand for accommodation. It's a good indication of how healthy the market is."

If a hotel goes ahead at 236 Broomielaw, it will have 150 to 200 rooms and most likely be a five-star venue.

A 10-storey hotel is also planned by development company Akeler at Central Quay.

On the south bank of the river, work has started on a 165-bedroom Etap Hotel at Springfield Quay and is expected to be finished in the autumn.

At nearby Pacific Quay, planning approval has been granted for a hotel as part of a larger development.

Work has not started, but a spokesman for Pacific Quay Developments said: "We are speaking to various hotel groups about who is going to run the hotel."

Further down the riverside, a £3.8million 99-bedroom Travelodge next to the Xscape leisure centre, at King's Inch Road, Renfrew, has been given planning permission and will create 25 jobs. Work is expected to start this year.

Construction is also to start this year on a hotel - part of the Sleep Inn chain - close to Braehead Shopping Centre.

Expansion plans have also recently been announced at the City Inn at Finnieston, where bosses hope to build 120 extra rooms, in addition to the existing 164.

The Albany Hotel in Bothwell Street is to be demolished and two hotels built on the site, with a giant ballroom capable of accommodating 1000 guests.

And the Marriott on Argyle Street is also reported to be looking for new premises to enable it to expand.

Work begins on £15m footbridge

Work has started on another bridge over the River Clyde.

The £15million footbridge will link the Broomielaw with Tradeston.

Part of the project, being undertaken by Glasgow City Council, involves the re-laying of paths along the riverside at the Broomielaw.

High quality natural stone will be used to create the pathways and there will be stainless steel benches and other street items, as well as feature lighting.

A council spokesman said: "It will be high quality work that will improve the banks of the Clyde at Broomielaw and Tradeston and will pave the way for the new bridge.

"The work includes strengthening the quay walls, setting up cycle paths and making the whole area more accessible."

Steven Purcell, Glasgow City Council leader, said: "The regeneration of the Clyde is a priority not just for Glasgow, but for the rest of Scotland.

"It was the historical driver for our economy and we are bringing it back into use as a key commercial, residential and tourist destination.

"The pace of work all along the Clyde has been remarkable and I look forward to the dramatic changes to come."

The new hotels

Clyde Street: Currently a row of derelict townhouses which are going to be demolished to make way for a four or five-star hotel.

Broomielaw: Currently a gap site close to the Kingston Bridge, the preferred option being a hotel.

Springfield Quay: An ETAP hotel is half-built on the south bank of the Clyde, near other developments including a new casino.

Pacific Quay: A hotel to be built as part of a larger development near the new BBC HQ.

Renfrew: Two hotels planned, one a Travelodge next to Xscape and the second, a Sleep Inn, close to Ikea at the Braehead shopping centre.

Central Quay: A 4-star hotel next to the Daily Record office.

Bothwell Street: The former Albany Hotel to be knocked down and rebuilt as two hotels.

There are also extensions at the City Inn and possibly the Marriott.


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

  • Clyde Street, location of proposed 4 star hotel

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