New complex will be heart of the Broomielaw

27 Apr 2009

by Iain Lundy, The Herald

Plans were yesterday unveiled for a £90m hotel, office, leisure and retail development that, its backers say, will lie at the heart of the transformation of a formerly run down district of Glasgow city centre into a major financial hub.

Developers have outlined proposals for Atlantic Square, which will include two office blocks and a six-storey 150-bedroom hotel, health club and conference centre in the heart of the former Broomielaw, which is now the International Financial Services District (IFSD).

Glasgow-based Capella Group aim to bring 2500 jobs to the centre which has been described as "Wall Street on the Clyde," if it wins approval for the plans from the city council, which has already granted outline permission.

Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Direct Line have already brought 15,000 jobs to the area since it was launched in 2001.

Jim Fitzsimons, chief executive of the group, said it wanted the building to lie at the heart of the district which once consisted of warehouses and was built around Broomielaw Quay, the traditional departure point for Clyde and Irish steamers.

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, and the project will also span York Street.

It also promised to create a "stunning" covered courtyard which will provide an impressive focal point for its three individual buildings and upgrade pedestrian access.

Mr Fitzsimons cited Atlantic Sq uare as an example of how the city is "better placed" than most others in the UK to escape the downturn.

He said: "At a time when the economic climate is so challenging we see this project as a major vote of confidence in the Broomielaw area and a timely boost for Glasgow.

"We believe the city is far better placed than most other UK cities to quickly come out of the current downturn, and believe that there will be significant take up of office space this year, leading to a need to see the next round of development start next year."

"Our vision for Atlantic Square is to create a "heart" for the Broomielaw area.

"With over 15,000 people now working and living in this area of the city, the time is right to look at a more exciting mixed-use scheme that will create a destination.

"It will be somewhere workers, residents and visitors can meet and relax, as well as providing stunning new offices for the ever-expanding business community.

"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.

"Broomielaw is now being regarded in the same way as the traditional city centre by business occupiers."

The development's two office buildings will total 227,000 sq ft and there will be a covered courtyard which developers see as a key feature. There will be pedestrian access linking the new development with the wider Broomielaw area.

Capella Group is now seeking approval for a revised scheme from the council after a number of elements were approved in outline by the council.

Mr Fitzsimons, formerly director of Wilson Bowden developments Scottish operation, established Capella Group in 2008.

It specialises in property development, urban regeneration and development management.

The IFSD project was launched in 2001. It is a £1bn, 10-year scheme that aims to turn the Broomielaw area into a vibrant, sustainable modern city district.

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.

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

1-3 Atlantic Square
  • 1-3 Atlantic Square