Green light for £100m riverside project

26 Oct 2009

by Gerry Braiden, The Herald

Plans for a £100m addition to the rebirth of the banks of the Clyde which could create as many as 2500 jobs have been unveiled.

The Atlantic Square project, in Glasgow's International Financial Services District, has secured the green light from the local authority and with planning permission now in the bag, the developers behind the prestigious project have made public their vision for the scheme. The development, situated between York Street and James Watt Street between the city centre and the Broomielaw, will involve the construction of three new buildings encompassing office, retail and leisure elements.

The first two sections of Atlantic Square will comprise of two Grade A office buildings of 161,000 sq ft and 66,000 sq ft, with the third housing a six-storey and a 150-bedroom hotel on James Watt Street.

The company is retaining the A-listed, mid-19th century warehouse facade of the building in James Watt Street, which was the scene of a fire where 22 people died in an upholstery factory in 1968.

In addition, there will be 20,000 sq ft of ground-floor retail and leisure space across all three buildings with the potential for health club and conference facilities also to be included.

The centrepiece of the three individual buildings will be a covered courtyard which will provide a focal point for the development, while pedestrian access through the area will be upgraded, linking the new development physically and visually with the wider Broomielaw district.

The Atlantic Square development will build on the success of its neighbouring scheme at Atlantic Quay, the aim being to create a strong focus for social activity in the area.

Atlantic Square lies in the heart of the city's IFSD, which is more than halfway through its 10-year life and well on track to reach its target of attracting 20,000 jobs to the City and providing two million sq ft of new grade A office space by 2011.

The rest of the surrounding Atlantic Quay buildings are now largely complete and have secured significant investment in a rolling programme of public realm works by the city council and other funders.

Neighbours also include three headquarters buildings on the Broomielaw/Clyde Waterfront, including British Telecom (BT) and Scottish Enterprise.

Although the development comes in the middle of the worst economic downturn in a generation, developers the Capella Group believe that seeds of recovery in the commercial property market in London will filter down to Glasgow within the year.

They claim that there has been no significant developments within Glasgow in the past 18 months and the two-and-a-half years it will take to complete the Atlantic Square will leave a considerable gap within the office market.

There have already been several serious approaches to the company about taking up parts of the office space, while Capella also says it has received interest for the hotel site.

Jim Fitzsimons, chief executive of Capella Group, said: "We're delighted that the Atlantic Square project has been given the go-ahead.

"This development represents a terrific boost for the regeneration of Glasgow's waterfront area and is a major vote of confidence in the Broomielaw district.

"The mixed-use Atlantic Square scheme will create a destination which not only delivers fantastic new offices for the business community but also achieves our vision of creating a real social focus in the district with all the elements being drawn together by a high-quality public realm," said Mr Fitzsimons.

"There have been a number of good lettings in Glasgow this year and as 2010 approaches we now need to see the next round of new development beginning to progress.

"We're keen to get on site quickly and have already begun discussions with potential partners.

"The IFSD initiative has been tremendously successful in attracting thousands of jobs and many millions of pounds of investment to Glasgow and the addition of high-quality office space at Atlantic Square will further enhance its profile."

Reproduced with the Permission of the Herald & Times Group.

  • View towards hotel - James Watt Street listed façade by GD Lodge architects / Capella Developments Ltd

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Project Details
  • 1-3 Atlantic Square