Custom House Quay plans back on track

19 Jan 2010

by Vivienne Nicol, Evening Times

A multi-million pound plan to transform derelict land on the banks of the Clyde is to go ahead despite one of the driving forces behind it going bust.

And Hilton Hotels have said it is interested in being involved in the new scheme.

Australian tycoon Rodney Price, one of the main partners in Clydeside Properties (Glasgow), wanted to create floating restaurants, shops, flats and office space at Custom House Quay.

But in October the £200 million plan was ditched after he filed for bankruptcy.

It had been billed as one of the most ambitious and high-profile river regeneration projects in the UK.

Now Newby Management, the other main partner in the company, has approached Glasgow City Council saying it wants to take over the development. The Yorkshire-based firm has developed a large number of offices, hotels  and mixed use developments across the United Kingdom.

The Evening Times revealed last year Newby was poised to push ahead with the plan.

It has set up a new consortium with Moorfield Real Estate, an investor with £3billion available for development and which specialises in hotels.

And Santander, the bank lined up to provide finance for the original proposal, is still keen to be involved.

Steve Inch, the city council's executive director of development and regeneration, said the first phase will consist of two new hotels.

He added: "Hilton Group has been in discussion with the developer and seems
keen to be involved in the project.

"The current timetable would see these developed for the middle of 2013 at the latest to allow a full year of operation prior to the Commonwealth Games.

"The new company has exhibited that it has the funding and expertise to carry out the development."
A Hilton Worldwide spokesman said it believed "the city has potential for hotels across our portfolio of brands".

He added: "We are in discussions regarding several potential sites, though at this stage nothing has been confirmed."

The original plans, led by the Glasgow office of architects RMJM, centred on public space at Buchanan Wharf.

It was to be redesigned to create a direct link between the city's main shopping area in Buchanan Street and the Clyde Street waterfront. Around 400 flats were to be developed in six riverside buildings.

They included a landmark 24-storey tower. Open-air cafes, designer shops and public art were also part of the ambitious project.

It is understood the new consortium plans to pursue a similar scheme to the original, although it is likely to be developed in phases.

Council leaders are keen to see more activity on the river, which each year hosts the popular River Festival.

The only year-round attraction is the restaurant and cafe bar The Ferry, previously known as the Renfrew Ferry.

City councillor for Anderston Gordon Matheson said: "I warmly welcome this proposal, subject to getting the planning details right.

"The riverside at Clyde Street feels a bit neglected at the moment. A major investment will help to extend the regeneration of the riverside right into the heart of the city.

"It is a great vote of confidence in Glasgow and will boost our economy, which
we need in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games and beyond."

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald and Times group.

  • View of Custom House Quay