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Glasgow City Centre Regeneration

Mark Hempshell reports

Most large cities have plans for the regeneration of their centre. Some of the proposals currently being worked up in Glasgow, however, could be particularly transformative as well as showing the way for other cities looking to transform their centres. So, in this report we will look at some of the key regeneration schemes in progress or being planned for Glasgow city centre.

Glasgow is certainly no beginner when it comes to change. The city has reformed itself over the last 50 years or so from being a heavy industrial centre reliant on shipbuilding to a more service-orientated one.

Over the years a number of projects have helped to underpin regeneration here. Perhaps one of the most significant has been the regeneration of the former dockyard areas to the west of the city centre. These have opened up new areas of land for development, created an attractive waterfront district and attracted new industries and leisure uses. Key projects in this area have included the Scottish Event Campus (which is now planning expansion) and Pacific Quay incorporating the Glasgow Science Centre, IMAX, the Hydro arena (Scotland’s largest entertainment venue) and a Digital Media Quarter.

The International Financial Services District on Broomielaw was developed between 2001 and 2014 and brought a new, large scale financial services sector to the city. It is now regarded as one of the top 20 most important financial districts in Europe. Many national and international financial institutions have offices here and it is said that 15,000 jobs have been created over the years. The new district has also helped to make Glasgow a significant market for office space, something which it had not really been previously.

There are a couple of other factors to consider when looking at Glasgow regeneration. Firstly, Glasgow has a very sizable retail core, which has expanded considerably since the 1980s. It is the largest in Scotland by far, is notable for its ‘Style Mile’, and is the third largest in the UK after London’s West End with (pre-Covid) around 1,600 stores. In these times of decline in high street retail this is bound to be a concern for the local authority, planners, developers and investors.

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