Glasgow’s golden opportunity for retail revolution

It was the envy of towns and cities across the country as Glasgow’s Golden Z drew shoppers into a retail experience like no other.

From the high street names on Sauchiehall Street to the designer shops on Buchanan Street and the fashion giants on Argyle Street, it was one big success story for the city.

However, even before the pandemic, the edges of the golden Z were beginning to crumble. Sauchiehall Street was affected by two major fires and earlier this year Marks and Spencer closed its doors.

Read more: The renovation of Byres Road in Glasgow will start next year

At the other end of the commercial link, the Debenhams department store has closed and there are now plans to demolish the flagship Buchanan Galleries department store.

However, a project is now underway to reinvent the future of the city center’s golden Z in the heart of Glasgow’s commercial core. The council has appointed a team of consultants based in Glasgow, comprising Stantec, Threesixty Architecture and Kevin Murray Associates, to create a new vision and plan for and around the Three Streets area.

Sauchiehall Street has suffered in recent years

It is in part a proactive response to the post-pandemic challenges and opportunities facing downtown. Owners, businesses, institutions, agencies, residents, and visitors will engage in a collaborative process to consider how the area, currently defined as the Golden Z, should improve in the future as a place for all.

Councilor Angus Millar, convener for downtown reclamation at Glasgow City Council, said: “The golden Z of Sauchiehall, Buchanan and Argyle streets has traditionally been the commercial heart of Glasgow, but changes to the sector mean that steps must be taken to ensure that the area continues to prosper in the future.

“The vision and action plan for the area will inform local businesses and residents, as well as developers and investors, and guide its development for years to come.”

The project will look at the impact of changing retail and leisure trends, the growth of inner-city living, and the need to reuse vacant sites and buildings, as well as the potential contribution of major future redevelopment proposals, such as the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Center. .

Former BHS site on Sauchiehall Street

Former BHS site on Sauchiehall Street

Funded by the Scottish Government’s Inner City Recovery Fund, it will be overseen by the Glasgow Inner City Task Force, co-chaired by Councilor Angus Millar and Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Preparation of the new plan will run from now until the end of March 2023. The first stakeholder workshops are planned for the end of November at The Lighthouse, with more information on how to get involved below.

Marks & Spencer on Sauchiehall Street closed its doors earlier this year

Marks & Spencer on Sauchiehall Street closed its doors earlier this year

Professor Brian Evans, an urban planner for the City of Glasgow, said the pandemic, along with the climate emergency and Brexit, had had a huge impact on city centres.

He added: “This important and timely work will set out ambitious investment, design and development principles for the heart of Glasgow city center to help it reclaim and enhance its role as the economic and cultural epicenter of the metropolitan city region.”

Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “Glasgow City Council’s master planning initiative is a welcome investment, helping to rebuild the area’s reputation as Scotland’s premier place to work, live and visit. “.

Meanwhile, a £5.8m project to rejuvenate one of Glasgow’s busiest streets will get underway next year.

The Glasgow City Region cabinet has approved work on the public realm on Byres Road, due to start in January 2023.

The work is expected to rejuvenate the quality of Byres Road’s streetscape and public realm to create a people-centric place with a pedestrian-friendly experience, improve the economic vitality of shops and services, and make the area friendlier. with cyclists and the environment.

The first phase of these works, Partick Cross to University Avenue, will begin in January 2023 and will be completed in the summer of 2024. The second phase of these works, between University Avenue and Great Western Road, will be delivered under a separate contract and will commence after the first phase is over.

Among the changes will be the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit; reduce the width of the roadway and eliminate a number of on-street parking spaces to create additional space for pedestrians and cyclists; widening and improving sidewalks to make pedestrian traffic on the street more relaxed and pleasant and to reduce the width of crossing points.

John Turner, president of the Byres Road & Lanes Business Information District (BID), said they were very pleased that, after considerable delays caused by the pandemic, planned improvements to Byres Road would finally begin in early 2023. .

He said: “We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the works and are confident that they will enhance Byres Road in its position as a premier destination.”

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