When the extension of St Enoch, including a new nine-screen VUE cinema and crescent of new restaurants, is unveiled next year, Glasgow’s largest central shopping centre will offer a fully integrated retail and entertainment venue that sets an example in the face of changing consumer habits.
More than that, St Enoch will help pull people to the southern edge of the city centre, an area which is about to be transformed by a number of other new developments.
There’s long been an ambition to improve the connection between Buchanan Street – Glasgow’s prime retail offering – with the River Clyde, which lies just 300 metres to the south. However, the environment historically has been very polarised, with upmarket shopping quickly giving way to semi-derelict buildings as you approach the river, and for many people this has remained as a ‘no go’ area.
But the tide is turning – in a big way – with the district presently a development hotspot which promises to reconnect the city once again with its famous river.
Underway in the area are three new hotel developments with plans for more than 800 beds, plus a 162-bed apart hotel, expected to complete in 2020. Collectively these four developments represent a genuinely transformative cluster of buildings that will make a tremendous difference to the area and complete Glasgow’s ‘missing link’ to the River Clyde.
A little farther to the east of St Enoch, a proposed 727-new home scheme from Get Living is now consented adjacent to High Street station, and upwards of 1,000 residential units are in the pipeline in Merchant City in the block bounded by Trongate and Candleriggs.
Completing the development picture is Buchanan Wharf – a 470,000 sq ft headquarter campus development on the southern banks of the Clyde – which is already pre-let to Barclays. With construction expected to complete in 2021 this is credited for expanding the long thought-of boundaries of Glasgow city centre.
The history here is notable. Home to Glasgow’s first quay, Broomielaw was once the main thoroughfare between the River Clyde and its busy steamboat traffic generated by the Industrial Revolution and the centre.
However, as industries and infrastructure changed over time, and shipping merchants were replaced by offices, Broomielaw became a forgotten address and not somewhere you would choose to visit after dark.
The changes taking place are a very encouraging sign for this area of Glasgow and the mix of uses is set to transform the area into a new 'hub' that people will choose to live, work and enjoy once more.