Waterfront hotel will change the skyline

16 Jun 2009

by Graeme Murray, Evening Times

Two hotel developments that will transform Glasgow's skyline are set to go before planners. If approved, they will mean massive changes near Bath Street and the Broomielaw.

Bath Street Investments wants to create an 11-storey hotel and office building to rise from the ashes of The Shack nightclub.

The iconic Greek-style John Burnett landmark, at the junction of Bath Street and Pitt Street, which dated to 1855, was razed after a massive blaze in 2004 and has been a gap site since.

Pieces of the building's distinctive pillars can still be seen among piles of rubble which remain at the location.

The planned scheme features a 150-room hotel, 30,000 sq ft office and shops at street level.

The original application for a 15-storey mixed-use development was reduced by four floors after complaints about loss of daylight and privacy from residents.

Charing Cross Housing Association, the New Glasgow Society and Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland objected to the proposals.

And six letters of objection were received from neighbouring residents and businesses who focused on inadequate parking, increased traffic congestion and the loss of views along Bath Street.

One objector said: "The building is more than double the height of 203 Pitt Street and is higher than the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building and would adversely affect views towards this building, as well as along the magnificent terraces of Bath Street to St Stephen's Church steeple."

Another said: "The building is too tall, represents over-development of the site and is out of proportion with and sympathetic with its surroundings."

The original 216-bedroom hotel scheme designed by RMJM architects was submitted in January and incorporated an art gallery and cafe, which have now been scrapped.

The number of rooms between the first and fifth floors has also been reduced and office accommodation between the sixth and 10th floors cut from 45,000sq ft to 30,000sq ft.

Glasgow City Council's planning committee is expected to recommend approving the scheme after changes to the original proposals were introduced in response to objections.

Plans for a second scheme will also be considered that could see Glasgow getting its first twin tower development.

Proposals by Edinburgh-based Frasers Property (Brown Street) would see 17-storey and 13-storey buildings rising from a gap site in the heart of the International Financial Services District.

The mixed-use scheme, also designed by RMJM, will be made up of two buildings that will provide 206 residential apartments in one block and a 135-room serviced apartment hotel in the other.

If approved, the development between Carrick Street and Brown Street would also feature a business conference, restaurant and gym built on land that would be landscaped.

The north block would accommodate the flats while the south tower, which is the smaller of the two, would provide serviced hotel apartments. Secure parking spaces for 55 cars would be created in the basement of both blocks.

The scheme received one letter of objection, which had no specific grounds.

But the project did prompt concerns from archaeology experts, who said it had the potential to disturb a prehistoric settlement and historic artefacts from an early pottery factory called Delftfield Pottery.

A report to the planning committee said: "West of Scotland Archaeological Service maintains the proposed development has the potential to adversely affect sensitive archaeological remains relating to prehistoric settlement, the early town harbour and one of the city's most important industrial pottery factories."

Archaeologists fear the early years of Delftfield Pottery may have extended into the proposed development site.

The body attached a condition asking developers keep a "watching brief" on archaeological aspects of the site in response to its concerns.

Regeneration bosses are delighted developers are continuing to invest in the city during the recession.

Steve Inch, executive director of the council's development and regeneration services department, said: "The proposed development by Frasers Property is one of a number of current applications for office, residential, hotel and retail commercial developments in the International Financial Services District.

"It represents continued private sector confidence during a difficult economic period, supporting the city's growing tourism, conferencing and exhibition centre sector, as well as the Commonwealth Games in 2014."

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.

 

  • Architect's impression of the Fraser Suites in Brown Street, by RMJM