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Glasgow Boards/Forums _ Glasgow News Blog _ Buchanan Galleries Expansion Plan

Posted by: GG 30th Mar 2011, 09:32pm

A controversial plan by Glasgow City Council to use tens of millions of pounds of public money to upgrade and expand a Glasgow shopping centre has been temporarily shelved after the SNP Scottish Gvernment failed to approve the scheme prior to the Holyrood elections. The plan, described by Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie as "high-risk" and "irresponsible", involves the council borrowing £56m to give to the largest commercial property company in the UK.

The proposed Buchanan Quarter TIF initiative would see the council pay the borrowed money back over 25 years, using additional business rates which senior councillors say would be generated by the development.

The scheme has been poorly received by the Glasgow public, many of whom point out that the council is currently imposing savage cuts in vital public services which many experts believe will hit the city's weakest and most vulnerable citizens the hardest. In February this year, the council announced £58 million of cuts, including the loss of 2600 jobs.

In a dramatic twist the story, management at the Buchanan Galleries' biggest rival in the city, the St Enoch Centre, have warned that they intend to take legal action against the council if the subsidy for the Galleries and its multi-billion-pound parent company goes ahead.

Retail experts fear that an expansion of the Buchanan Galleries could suck the life out of the rest of the city centre where currently a fifth of the city's retail floorspace is vacant. However, councillors dispute this, claiming that an expanded Galleries will have no impact on the overall market.

Commenting on the plan's failure to win government approval, a spokesman for Glasgow City Council said:

"We are very disappointed that the Scottish Government did not make a decision on the Glasgow TIF before the election campaign. We hope the new administration will make an early announcement a priority."

Harry Reid, owner of a baby store on Trongate for 25 years, said that current trading conditions in the city have never been so hard. He added:
"We can't understand why the council would put money in to doing up the top of Buchanan Street, he said. That will just suck business away from the Trongate, the Merchant City, Argyle Street and, yes, parts of Sauchiehall Street too."

A concerned Evening Times reader said:
"Surely the millionaire owners of Buchanan Galleries can well afford to fund the centre's expansion without our money. At a time when the city needs every penny, it seems wasteful in the extreme to use public cash to help boost profits at a private shopping centre. After all, I can t see the bosses of the Buchanan Galleries cutting dividends to shareholders in order to pay for schools or hospitals in Glasgow."


Posted by: Jupiter 30th Mar 2011, 09:40pm

I wonder if this has been some of these councillors 'at it' again?

Posted by: Heather 30th Mar 2011, 11:02pm

I agree with the Evening Times reader.

The owners of Buchanan Shopping Centre should fund the expansion scheme with the profits they make from the public instead of making themselves richer at tax payers expense.

Posted by: Scotsman 31st Mar 2011, 12:29am

So.... we're losing hospitals, nurseries, care centres, shelters, clinics, community halls, libraries, hostels, schools etc etc and the uber-priviliged cooncillors in Georges Square think that we need to spend millions on more shops???

I've a simple question for these people who want to throw our money down a big drain.... what planet are you on?

Posted by: *granny-teddybear* 31st Mar 2011, 06:21am

Millions on a shopping centre and thousands on a cricket pitch in Bellahouston Park. They are not on a planet they're in Cloud cuckoo land

Posted by: Tommy K 31st Mar 2011, 07:05am

I do not see the need for any expansion of the Buchanan Galleries - especially at the top of Buchanan Street as taking away the dramatic stairs entrance to the Royal Concert Hall woul badly damage the vista of that truly dramatic entrance. Then their is the utter complexity of the closure of Buchanan Bus Station (albeit temporary) which would cause no end of traffic probl;ems in a precinct which at present is difficult enough to drive through. NO! leave things as they are as we are well penetrated with shopping malls. The Glasgow District Council should also take into account the effect that any further development and/or expansion could have on smaller business's in the City Centre area and it is wrong to potentially borrow millions which eventually will only benefit the profits of multinational fims who never consider returning some of their profits for our community's benefit.
Tommy K

Posted by: GG 31st Mar 2011, 07:58am

That's correct, Tommy, the steps in front of the Royal Concert Hall would be removed under the plan. The steps have become an important feature of Glasgow city centre, with shoppers, workers and tourists using them to rest and relax on – especially when the weather is good. Glasgow band Glasvegas will give a free show from them next week, and I photographed them this week as opera singers used them to give an impromptu open-air performance.



Posted by: Polster 31st Mar 2011, 09:14am

At last a party who stands up for Glasgow.... even by doing nowt! smile.gif

Posted by: *Phil* 31st Mar 2011, 11:54am

The fact that commercial developers are unwilling to fully finance such a cumbersome and protracted development is a clear indicator of the fundamental weakness of the business case for this development.

My opinion is that this plan will go no further than it has now as I think a number of council officers and members will want to have a closer look at the plan following recent announcements.

If the city has money to invest then it should be spent on increasing the overall footfall into the city center, not on diverting existing visitor spend to a smaller area within the retail hub.

Posted by: nan mcdonald 31st Mar 2011, 12:20pm

Do the developers of The Buchanan Street Redevelopement think the People Of Glasgow are crazy? Families are Strugling to cope with cuts, they do not need any fancy cosmetics done in the city to generate more cash for themselves.

If G.C.C. wants to borrow £54mln. let them put it towards stopping some of the cuts being imposed on the City Of Glasgow Good Folks.

Posted by: droschke7 31st Mar 2011, 03:32pm

The one way to solve this whole charade is to vote on the 5th of May.

Posted by: tamhickey 31st Mar 2011, 04:07pm

So the council thinks it prudent to borrow £56m to aid property developers whilst at the same time announcing £58m worth of cuts to the people of Glasgow? I think it would be fair to say that those proposing such a scheme had never studied accountancy or indeed social studies.
The smell of brown envelopes lingers with this discredited council.....

Posted by: auldbutcher 31st Mar 2011, 04:43pm

So.... we're losing hospitals, nurseries, care centres, shelters, clinics, community halls, libraries, hostels, schools etc etc and the uber-priviliged cooncillors in Georges Square think that we need to spend millions on more shops???

I've a simple question for these people who want to throw our money down a big drain.... what planet are you on?

Christo Scotsman yer on the money where dae these people come fae how dae clowns like this get elected tae seats o power in the city chambers is there a lot o underhaun skulduggery goin on that we urnae privy tae.

Wance agin these clowns bend ower backwards tae support avaricious moneymakers where does it end ,like i said already time fer an investigation intae the going ons there seems iffy tae me.

Posted by: wee davy 31st Mar 2011, 08:52pm

QUOTE (droschke7 @ 31st Mar 2011, 03:49pm) *
The one way to solve this whole charade is to vote on the 5th of May.

100% correct, droschke.
Give them the order of the boot.

Posted by: Rabbie 31st Mar 2011, 09:16pm

Bothered by Political Correctness or Politicians?

My solution:~

Posted by: George Brown 31st Mar 2011, 09:24pm

I am not sure on the point, but I read somewhere that many of the owners of shopping complex in the area, are not Scottish owned. I do recall not so long ago that Silverburn changed ownership I dare say the same could happen to any large property.

I can appreciate security etc, etc. but I find it annoying, and referring to the Greenock Oak Mall that on certain days and in evenings, there is no public access and pedestrians are obliged to circumnavigate the complex.

Posted by: wee davy 31st Mar 2011, 09:34pm

Well nobody can accuse you of lacking in ambition for REAL change, in the run up to local Elections!

Where are you standing, Rabbie?

I think you may jist score a direct HIT with this approach laugh.gif

Posted by: GG 31st Mar 2011, 09:38pm

QUOTE (George Brown @ 31st Mar 2011, 09:41pm) *
I am not sure on the point, but I read somewhere that many of the owners of shopping complex in the area, are not Scottish owned. ...

You are correct, George, both are based in London. The Buchanan Galleries are owned by Land Securities & Henderson Global Investors.

Land Securities
Land Securities Group plc is the largest commercial property company in the UK and the leading British property development and investment company headquartered in central London. The company owns and manages more than 29,000,000 sq ft of commercial property, from London offices and high street shops to major shopping centres and out-of-town retail parks. As at 30 September 2009 the property portfolio was valued at £8.7bn. The company's net income in 2009 was £5,1945 million.

Henderson Global Investors
Henderson Group plc is a British investment management company based in the City of London. The company provides its retail, institutional and high net-worth clients with access to skilled investment professionals representing a broad range of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, property, private equity and cash. Henderson is one of Europe's largest investment managers, with £60.3 billion in assets under management, employing more than 930 people worldwide. Net income in 2009 was £14.5 million.


Posted by: GG 31st Mar 2011, 10:00pm

One area that is, unfortunately, really struggling just now is the Trongate. All the shops shown in the photo below have closed in the last six months, supporting Harry Reid's claim in the topic's first post that:

We can't understand why the council would put money in to doing up the top of Buchanan Street, he said. That will just suck business away from the Trongate, the Merchant City, Argyle Street and, yes, parts of Sauchiehall Street too.



Posted by: glasgow lass 31st Mar 2011, 10:47pm

O'no dont change this magnificent area it could never be improved on, its one of the most beautiful spots left in Glasgow.

Posted by: benny 31st Mar 2011, 10:47pm

This latest "get rich quick" scheme by Glasgo City Council may well benefit the companies involved, but I think there are more urgent priorities for 56 million quid of taxpayers money. Furra start, they could fill in some of the potholes on the road.

Posted by: Norman G 31st Mar 2011, 11:07pm

I wonder how much money changed hands to get this proposal made.

Previous comments are spot on.

Vote these paracites out ASAP.

Posted by: *Clyde* 2nd Apr 2011, 01:41am

To be fair to the councillors who want to gift a mega-rich company £millions - I think it is laziness and lack of imagination rather than brown envelopes. When was the last time a Labour councillor had a good idea? Can anyone remember? Answers on a postcard........

Posted by: Grampar 3rd Apr 2011, 09:07pm

I am only glad that we have a Government in Edinburgh that can stop the excesses of the Labour run City Council. They have proved more than capable of standing up to both the politicians in London and the would be powerbrokers in our City.

Posted by: Alex Saville 4th Apr 2011, 10:55am

Wonder where that staunch Labourite, Dexter, is? Surely he will have something to say on this?

Posted by: serabash 4th Apr 2011, 01:25pm

When will the people of Glasgow wake up and see that labour are no good for our city. Their bad management will be the death of the city.Thank god for the SNP and a bit of sanity.

Posted by: mlconnelly 4th Apr 2011, 11:14pm

Serabash, i agree about labour party and have been saying they have to go for a long time but old habits die hard for too many people and some think its better the devil they know. I used to vote SNP but personally think Mr Salmon has mental heath problem so they lost my vote a while back. Mary rolleyes.gif

Posted by: ionnsaigh 15th Apr 2011, 12:35pm

QUOTE (droschke7 @ 31st Mar 2011, 03:49pm) *
The one way to solve this whole charade is to vote on the 5th of May.

Vote, feck them, and feck the vote...... rolleyes.gif

Posted by: ionnsaigh 15th Apr 2011, 05:16pm

QUOTE (benny @ 31st Mar 2011, 11:04pm) *
This latest "get rich quick" scheme by Glasgo City Council may well benefit the companies involved, but I think there are more urgent priorities for 56 million quid of taxpayers money. Furra start, they could fill in some of the potholes on the road.

P th les. sad.gif
o o

Posted by: GG 22nd Apr 2011, 10:07am

A very interesting reflection by Pat Kane on the state of Glasgow city centre, and on the state of a Glaswegian mentality that increasingly appears to be driven by a frenzied, superfluous consumption that defies the city's proud history:

... I sat there the other day, looking back on this brawling, greedy, hyper-retailed city centre, and allowed the most regular thought in my head these days to slowly emerge. How do we ever get from this huge collective investment in conspicuous consumption, to anything remotely resembling a materially sustainable society?

In Glasgow at least, shopping is clearly the main ritual (apart from the fitba’) of inclusion, status and belonging for so many – from the determined families with their fistfuls of Primark and sports-shop bags, to the leggy apparitions slipping into people-carriers with wispy, expensive things dangling from their fingers.

The writer and film-maker Ewan Morrison has been charting this territory with his Tales From The Mall, well worth a visit. But his hipster’s disdain, though eloquent and witty, isn’t enough of a response to the sheer momentum of Glasgow’s (or anywhere else’s) consumer frenzy. ...

He goes on to ask questions of council attitude and policy:

... Shouldn’t councils such as Glasgow begin to recognise the contradiction between their espoused socialist history, and the consciousness-fragmenting consumerism that overpowers what should be a great convivial space for its citizens? Can they shift the needle of civic priorities in the city centre away from the chip-and-pin device? ...

Let's hope he's not expecting answers any time soon!

Walking through Glasvegas, from consumerism to sustainability


Posted by: Scotsman 29th Apr 2011, 11:12am

I was in the toon yesterday and was disgusted to witness the state of Argyle Street from Glasgow Cross to Debenhams. A midden indeed!

Posted by: GG 25th Oct 2011, 07:39am

This matter has been refered back to the council, which was due earlier this month to vote on whether to give the Buchanan Galleries (a now increased amount of) £80million for the expansion of the shopping centre. However, the executive committee was unable to vote on the issue because they had been given the wrong report! A new report is to be drawn up and presented for the perusal of councillors at the end of the month. SNP councillors have indicated that they may vote against the proposal.

Speaking about the controversial plan, Susan Nicol, general manager of rival St Enoch Centre, said:

"The TIF concept is an innovative method of using public funds to unlock development within particular areas that require regeneration.

But this proposal is deeply flawed and will have a significant negative impact on the future development of Glasgow’s retail sector.

The fact the paper due to be submitted was a significant re-draft of the original business case is a clear indication the proposal is basically unsound.

The business case is based on research compiled before the recession.

It is no longer relevant to the economic challenges the city now faces."


Posted by: GG 26th Oct 2011, 07:35pm

The Evening Times has reported today that the controversial £80m expansion plan for Buchanan Galleries is expected to be rubber-stamped at a re-scheduled committee meeting tomorrow ... assuming, of course, an accurate report is put before councillors this time. smile.gif

SNP and LibDem councillors have voiced concerns about a lack of transparency by council officials; Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie expressed the opinion that the already-vacant shops in the city centre should be filled before new ones are built.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, council leader, said:

"This report will recommend the business case for the Buchanan Quarter TIF to the Scottish Futures Trust and the Scottish Government for approval. The project would bring thousands of jobs to Glasgow."

However, Susan Nicol, general manager of nearby rival St Enoch Centre, accused the council of favouritism and said that time should be given to a more considered analysis of the issues.

Ms Nicol added:
"We’ve identified what appear to be inconsistencies in the report."


Posted by: wee davy 28th Oct 2011, 09:50am

Any more news on this one, GG?

Posted by: GG 28th Oct 2011, 05:52pm

Wee Davy, nothing in the news, however, here's the relevant extract from the council's executive committee meeting yesterday:

Buchanan Galleries Development (Ward 10) - Tax Increment Finance initiative – Final Business Case approved, after division.

3. With reference to the minutes of 9th December 2010 (Print 6, page 554) approving the submission of a Business Case for the Buchanan Galleries Development (Ward 10) to the Scottish Futures Trust and the Scottish Government, Bailie Cameron [Labour], Executive Member for Development and Regeneration, presented a report regarding the final Business Case for the initiative, advising

(1) that the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) used anticipated future increases in Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) revenues to finance infrastructure improvements, which were expected to bring forward developments that generated increased revenue and as part of the process evidence had been required to be gathered that private funds were insufficient to undertake the necessary infrastructure and that without the TIF the development would not be achieved and the original Business Case had set out the rationale for proceeding with the TIF initiative;

(2) that during dialogue with the Scottish Government, it had became clear that the decision by Buchanan Partnership (a joint venture between Land Securities and Henderson Global Investors) who jointly owned Buchanan Galleries to commence work on the Atlas phase of the development in advance of approval for the TIF scheme weakened the “but-for” case for that part of the development and on this basis it had been agreed to remove the Atlas phase of the development from the TIF business case;

(3) of the key changes to the Business Case;

(4) that the TIF allowed for incremental NDR to be retained by the Council over a 25 year period to fund borrowing costs arising from Council investment and borrowing costs associated with the proposed Council capital expenditure of £80m were around £5.85m per annum, with the annual incremental NDR which could be retained by the Council as a result of the development estimated to be £6.1m and this income would be ring-fenced to service the debt, which would allow repayment of Council borrowing associated with the TIF in advance of completion of the 25 year period; and

(5) the development appraisal had identified a funding gap of £55m for the delivery of public works allied to the development at North Hanover Street and the Buchanan Galleries and £55m of the public works would be undertaken by Buchanan Partnership as part of the main development contract, with the Council paying on a milestone basis and only after the works had been signed off as completed and the remaining £25m of public works would be undertaken by the Council and would include improvements to the Concert Hall, Cathedral Street bridge upgrade, upper Dundas Street upgrade and public realm improvements to Cathedral Street, George Square and the general Buchanan Quarter area.

Councillor Matheson [Labour], seconded by Councillor Graham [Labour], moved that the committee

a. approve the final Business Case;

b. note that if approved, the TIF would lever in £310m of private sector investment, deliver around 1,486 full time equivalent jobs (net) and additional Gross Value Added of £36.2m (net) per annum; and

c. agree to submit the Business Case to the Scottish Futures Trust and the Scottish Government.

Councillor Hendry [SNP], seconded by Councillor McAllister [SNP], moved as an amendment that consideration of the matter be continued to allow a fresh independent demand survey to be carried out in order to ensure adequate mitigation of risk.

On a vote being taken by a show of hands, 5 members voted for the amendment and 12 for the motion, which was accordingly declared to be carried.

My emphasis added ... full details can be found here:


Posted by: GG 28th Oct 2011, 06:16pm

According to the Evening Times this week:

... The council, using figures from before the financial crash, insists that retail sales will grow, after inflation, by at least an average of 2.5% every year for 25 years.

Their "best-case" scenario of 5.15% a year sales growth after inflation would mean the city shopping market would more than triple in real terms.

Retail analysts were today stunned by how optimistic city chiefs are about the sector at a time when sales, in real terms, are falling. ...

Professor Leigh Sparks, a leading expert on the retail industry, said:
"I struggle to see how anyone can make a prediction on retail sales for the next 25 years. The usual cycle for investment is a time period of five-to-seven years. I mean, could they predict what Glasgow would be like today back in 1986? I don’t think so. Their forecast is very bold indeed."

Read between them lines!

A council spokesperson said:
"Research in the past 18 months confirms there is unmet retailer demand of 1million sq ft in Glasgow city centre."


Posted by: wee davy 28th Oct 2011, 06:44pm

That last one is astonishing!

Unmet 'RETAILER' demand???

Hmmm let me see,... what would come under that banner,...

Russian Mafia???

Columbian/Mexican Drug Cartels???

Somalian Pirates???

Incredible,... absolutely incredible.

Waken Up Glasgow

Posted by: GG 31st Oct 2011, 07:22pm

Reaction today: FOR

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce:

"For every completed project that has a TIF, the growth of the rates associated with that project gets recycled back into the local authority's coffers.

These are the kinds of investments that it is increasingly difficult to find public resources to fund, but which are an essential part of the improvements we need for a competitive, modern city centre.

We also like the Government's TIF policy because it reconnects local authorities' financing structures with the needs of business and gives them the incentive to invest behind business growth.

... We acknowledge that there will always be a strenuous debate to go through for investments like these.

My concern at present is that we're at risk of exacerbating the debate by being too cautious in the introduction of TIFs at a time when we have a desperate need to encourage new funding sources."

Reaction today: AGAINST

Susan Nicol, general manager at rival St Enoch Centre:
"We believe that, in its current format, this development would have a massively detrimental effect on the retail sector within the city centre for many years and is based on incorrect assumptions which do not reflect the reality of today’s economic situation.

We are immersed in the retail leasing sector and the suggestion that there is currently a queue of 200 retailers waiting on brand new space being built in Glasgow is, in our opinion, entirely divorced from reality."


Posted by: ashfield 31st Oct 2011, 08:04pm

I wonder if Susan Nicol came to that conclusion before, or after, the completion of the £100m extention to her St Enoch's Centre less than two years ago? rolleyes.gif

Posted by: GG 7th Nov 2011, 12:09am

A twist in the tale today, as another TIF is added to the Scottish Government's list of approved TIF schemes, prompting speculation that Holyrood may block the Buchanan Galleries project as not providing true "added value".

Controversy mounts as Aberdeen’s £80m garden square is added to approved list of TIF schemes

... Neil denied that the Aberdeen scheme, which is conditional on local public support, probably through a referendum, had been brought forward because of concerns about the Glasgow TIF proposal for the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre. Along with Leith Docks and Ravenscraig, the £80m Glasgow plan was the last of the three original TIF proposals.

While Leith and Ravenscraig have got permission, Glasgow was submitted last month after previous drafts were rejected by either the SFT or the council for containing serious errors. The new business case still assumes that retail in Glasgow will grow at an average of 2% to 5.1% in real terms over the next 25 years – figures that many believe are high given that consumer spending looks likely to be depressed. This has sparked fears that it will not attract new retailers to Glasgow but will draw them from other parts of the city.

Neil acknowledged that the SNP opposition group in Glasgow were against the TIF proposal and said: “There’s no point in us using large amounts of money if all we are doing is displacing jobs. There’s got to be added value.” ...

Full story here:


Posted by: GG 10th Nov 2011, 08:32am

Although it doesn't mention Glasgow specifically, this article in the Financial Times gives an important indicator of just how 'worthless' retail accommodation in struggling urban locations is becoming. This could be temporary measure to see towns and cities through a short-term hard time, but must still be a worrying sign for the sector:

Shops offered £1 rents on hard-up streets

Pound shops, selling cheap household goods and plastic toys, have become a familiar sight on high streets as the downturn has bitten. But the term has taken on another meaning with reports of knock-down rents of just £1-a-year on hard-to-let shops.

With the number of boarded-up shops proliferating on high streets, retail landlords have become desperate to avoid paying business rates on empty units and are happy to sacrifice the rent. ...

Full story here:


Posted by: GG 21st Nov 2011, 08:59am

Figures released today show that there are 10% fewer shoppers on Scotland's streets than last year. In addition, it was found that, on average, 10% of shops in Scotland lie empty.

Ian Shearer, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:

"The number of people visiting Scotland’s shopping areas has nose-dived since a year ago. This is further evidence of the pressure on consumers.

Scottish consumer confidence is also lower and falling faster than the UK average, and retail sales have performed worse than the rest of the UK for most of this year.

Household budgets are caught between soaring utility and fuel bills and low wage growth, leaving people with less money to spend on other needs and wants.

It’s going to take a major change to tempt shoppers out again.

Retailers are running special events and offering early promotions, helping households with seasonal spending as Christmas gets closer.

Beyond that the Scottish Government has to understand that retailing cannot withstand the 5.6% across-the-board inflation increase in business rates and a proposed new supermarket tax on top of that, both due in April, without knock-on effects."


Posted by: tamhickey 26th Nov 2011, 06:45am

This is worrying for all of us

Opponents hit out at Labour “ALEOs shambles” as Glasgow Council faces ‘Financial Meltdown’ By G.A.Ponsonby

Labour’s political opponents have accused the party of financial mismanagement after it emerged Scotland’s biggest local authority faces financial meltdown.

The criticism follows reports that Labour run Glasgow Council is facing the prospect of losses totalling tens of millions of pounds as a result of a planned overhaul of its Arms Length External Organisations (ALEOs).

The concerns centre on a proposal to merge two ALEOs, City Parking and City Property, early next year. However there are fears that any such plan would be seen as a default on banking loans that would result in interest payments increasing. ...

Posted by: GG 13th Mar 2012, 08:21pm

The (now) £80million TIF scheme to use public money to fund the development of the Buchanan Galleries and the surrounding area was re-approved by the council and is now waiting on the Scottish government to give the council the go-ahead. However, Ivanhoe Cambridge, St Enoch Centre owners, believes that part of the project would breach stringent European laws designed to stop the state supporting one private enterprise over another.

Susan Nicol, general manager of the St Enoch Centre, said:

"We have made it clear from the outset to Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government we are entirely supportive of the use of Tax Increment Finance as a means of funding public infrastructure.

Our concern with this project is that, in addition to providing, as we see it, publicly funded support to a single developer, it also has the potential to blight the remainder of the city centre."

Ivanhoe Cambridge has now indicated that the company intends to take the Scottish government to court if it backs the council plan!


Posted by: GG 19th Mar 2012, 01:09am

The Herald reported on the troubled TIFs today:

... State aid has also been an issue in Glasgow, whose £80m TIF proposal has led some to question the motives behind the city's application. Witchfinder General has been Ivanhoe Cambridge, the Canada-based owner of the nearby St Enoch Centre, which is worried that massively increasing its rival's size will hurt its business not long after its own unaided £150m refurbishment. Smaller competitors are equally dismissive of the claims of the council and Galleries owners Land Securities and Henderson Global Investors, that the extension will attract much more business than it displaces. Retail rents are already said to have fallen in western Sauchiehall Street because of the rumoured departure of Marks & Spencer to the Galleries extension. One retail source says: "We used to talk about the Style Mile as a 'Z' in Glasgow running from Sauchiehall Street to the end of Argyll Street. Now it's in danger of just being Buchanan Street, more like an 'I'."

The application was nevertheless sanctioned by the SFT last month and is now waiting for Government approval. Ivanhoe is threatening to sue if it goes through. Its company's lawyers, DLA Piper, believe there is a decent state aid case because several of the infrastructure works – including a multi-entrance walkway between Queen Street railway station and the Galleries – will enhance the shopping centre. Whether the assets are owned by the council or the company, and the question of whether the company or the public benefits more from them, are both important in determining a breach of state aid. ...

Full story here:


Posted by: GG 3rd Apr 2012, 07:59am

Question: Has the SNP Saved Glasgow £56m? Answer: No.

SNP News Release:

Buchanan Quarter upgrade gets go ahead

SNP MSP Sandra White has welcomed news that an investment plan to reinvigorate Glasgow city centre has been given the go ahead.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil confirmed the city council's £80m Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme for the Buchanan Quarter, which is expected to unlock £310 million in private investment and create almost 1,500 jobs, has been provisionally approved by the Scottish Government.

Ms White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: “This is fantastic news for the city that will see the Royal Concert Hall upgraded, public realm and infrastructure improvement works undertaken in George Square and Buchanan Street, the Cathedral Street bridge strengthened and access to Queen Street station improved. Glasgow is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities and this development will only strengthen this position.

“This significant revamp will help us to maximise Glasgow’s economic potential and is great news for businesses.

“Despite damaging Westminster cuts, investment is continuing in Scotland, with this announcement expected to create up to 1,500 jobs.

“The new facilities will also help attract more visitors to the area, giving a real boost to the city’s economy.

“There is significant investment being made in Glasgow. A £250m Subway upgrade was announced last week and that, alongside other transport improvements such as upgrades to the M74 and M80, Fastlink, and other rail improvements, is a huge vote of confidence by the SNP Government in Glasgow's economic future.

“Funding models, such as TIF, are helping lever additional private sector investment – which is key to growing our economy.”

Controversial £80m mall plans approved by Scottish Government


Posted by: john.mcn 3rd Apr 2012, 10:43pm

The SNP are between a rock and a hard place with Labour and Glasgow, if they refused to back the deal i would bet my house that Labour would use it as a political weight to swing at the SNP in the run up to the council elections. In fact i'd also bet that some Labour members were salivating at the prospect of that very thing happening. Just remember the whole palava with the Glasgow airport link and the accusations of being anti Glasgow.

Will it attract more people, possibly tourists but in all honesty who would take the trek to the toon if they have Silverburn and Braehead closer, im my case and many thousands anyway.

Posted by: GG 5th Apr 2012, 07:54am

Save Our Steps:

Situated at the top of Glasgow's bustling Buchanan Street, the Royal Concert Hall steps have long offered Glasgow's residents and visitors a place to meet, eat their lunch or simply watch the world go by.

This popular public space is now under threat. Glasgow City Council has granted outline planning permission to demolish the steps and replace them with a new combined "focal point" entrance to the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre and the Royal Concert Hall.

Access to the Concert Hall for people with mobility problems should certainly be improved. But this could be done without getting rid of the steps and building an enormous Buchanan-branded doorway to the shopping centre!

This plan started out as part of a larger scheme to expand Buchanan Galleries, which would have involved building a multi-storey car park on top of Buchanan Bus Station! After widespread criticism that plan was ditched, but the threat to the steps remains!



Posted by: mlconnelly 5th Apr 2012, 12:19pm

The steps are a lovely way to while away the time but I wish the people who enjoy their lunch there would remember to take away their rubbish. Mary rolleyes.gif

Posted by: GG 11th Apr 2012, 07:48am

Regarding the removal of the steps, Pat Lally, former Lord Provost of Glasgow, wrote the following letter to the Herald, published today.

A step back to look at bigger picture of the changes to Buchanan Street

Catriona Stewart is right to call for the preservation of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall steps but wrong to relate the matter to the expansion of the Buchanan Galleries.

It is all about dominating the skyline at the top of Buchanan Street.

At present when you look up Buchanan Street what you see is the concert hall. Even before the shopping centre was built the developer wanted to change this. The original design for the hall by Sir Leslie Martin intended to ensure the shopping centre blended into the architecture of the concert hall. The developer was not happy about this. The entrance to the hall and the shopping centre were always intended to be independent of each other.

The construction of the shopping centre did not start until some time after the completion of the concert hall and from the outset they wanted to change the relationship with the concert hall, which the council always resisted.

The present plans, which were approved by the council, also included the approval of the glass tube, which Catriona Stewart described. This provided no financial return to them so they want to change this to put a restaurant at the top.

Incidentally the commercial rates paid by the shopping centre don't end up with the council, they are collected by the council on behalf of the Scottish Government.

With regard to the concert hall steps, there are complaints that people sit on them; of course they do and Catriona Stewart provides a whole range of justifications for so doing, with which I completely agree. They are probably aware of the Spanish Steps in Rome where people come from all over the world to sit on them, as I have. Given time who knows how we might come to regard them?

I raised this issue with Historic Scotland and I have to say I was pretty shocked at their lack of concern.

Pat Lally. Glasgow.


Posted by: tamhickey 12th Apr 2012, 06:00am

Do we really need this development? I get the feeling that it will be a huge and costly white elephant with no discernable improvement for the majority of Glaswegians, and with the understandable anger and frustration of the traders at Princes Square and the St. Enoch Centre in particular. As to the so called jobs boost, I would doubt many jobs will be created as more and more retail outlets close down as they simply won't be able to compete. Also, how will all of these empty units look to tourists and visitors? It will surely paint the city in a poor light and the golden Z of Sauchiehall, Buchanan and Argyll Streets will become an inverted L as Argyll Street seems to be suffering most.
Surely, at a time of economic meltdown such as we're experiencing now, people will hold back from luxury shopping as wages decrease in real terms and unemployment rises?
Are the councillors and those in the Scottish Government happy to see our city as a mere cash cow without making any real improvements to it? As Scotland's shopping mall to the wealthy?
These questions are far more important than the steps issue in my view.

Posted by: Scotsman 12th Apr 2012, 12:59pm

Well said Tam. I could really take or leave the steps but there are much bigger issues here. Is this plan going to improve the quality of life for the average person in the city?? I dont think so. As you say.... we have heard it all before about the jobs boost that was supposed to come and then never did. And the amount of money to be paid.... can you believe we need to spend £56 MILLION on building even MORE shops??

Posted by: Heather 12th Apr 2012, 11:10pm

Tam I agree with you. I don't see the point of expanding Buchanan Galleries, especially with so many empty shops all over the Town and now Mother Care have announced they will close down 100 shops.
When this expansion takes place the City Centre will look terrible as even more shops will close down.

You really have to wonder why the Council have agreed to this expansion when they should be encouraging more new Business into Glasgow to take over the empty shops.

In time we will have huge Shopping Malls like America and the City Centre will be deserted.

Scotsman, I think the cost has now increased to £80 million.

Posted by: bilbo.s 13th Apr 2012, 01:02pm

I am completely baffled as to why public money should be subsidising private business in this way, not to mention the disruption to the bus station. Loonies running the asylum again !

Posted by: GG 9th Aug 2012, 10:54pm

A recent report on the statistics gathered from a Glasgow City Council footfall counter set up outside the Buchanan Street entrance to Buchanan Galleries showed visitor numbers fell from 1,337,213 in 2010 to 957,902 last year. A quite astonishing 39% reduction in just one year!


Posted by: bilbo.s 10th Aug 2012, 07:15am

On the one hand these malls are a blessing, giving shelter from the elements, but it's always the "usual suspects" . Really boring and rarely a bargain to be seen. The only one I like is the Forge at Parkhead. The Fort , on the other hand, is not even undercover and certainly not underpriced. I do not see the attraction, except for fools wanting to be parted from their money.

Posted by: Scots Kiwi Lass 10th Aug 2012, 11:08am

QUOTE (Heather @ 13th Apr 2012, 01:25am) *
Tam I agree with you. I don't see the point of expanding Buchanan Galleries, especially with so many empty shops all over the Town and now Mother Care have announced they will close down 100 shops.
When this expansion takes place the City Centre will look terrible as even more shops will close down.

You really have to wonder why the Council have agreed to this expansion when they should be encouraging more new Business into Glasgow to take over the empty shops.

In time we will have huge Shopping Malls like America and the City Centre will be deserted.

Scotsman, I think the cost has now increased to £80 million.

Heather, you right you are to worry about huge shopping malls.

Christchurch is a fairly small city. Prior to the earthquakes, the population was over 400,000. There are 3 massive malls in the suburbs, and various smaller ones. In the last 10-20 years, as these monsters have been progessively extended, many of the beautiful inner city shops virtually "died". Plenty of tourist shops and expensive restaurants but not much else.

Now, or course, there is not much left of the city buildings due to demolition (or deconstruction, as it seems to be called now). Rebuilding is expected to take 5-10 years, so there is hope that the new city plan will bring vibrant new life to the city, so maybe the earthquakes will have some positive results. Unfortunately, the huge malls remain but I hope to see at least some of the new buildings in operation in my lifetime.

Do anything you can to prevent the ridiculous spread of monster malls!

Posted by: Scotsman 10th Aug 2012, 11:38am

Absolutely agree with both of you on this smile.gif.

Why cant the malls in Glasgow be different instead of all the usual names and clones?? Yes it is good to get away from the bad weather and go into a covered mall but it would be great if they were not all the same!!

Posted by: Dave Grieve 10th Aug 2012, 11:53am

QUOTE (Scotsman @ 10th Aug 2012, 01:53pm) *
Absolutely agree with both of you on this smile.gif.

Why cant the malls in Glasgow be different instead of all the usual names and clones?? Yes it is good to get away from the bad weather and go into a covered mall but it would be great if they were not all the same!!

If they are like Mall owners here they discourage 'Independents and Mom and Pop' stores much prefering the larger chains and franchises.

I know it leads to boring shopping but the name of the game is rental income.

Posted by: GG 9th Sep 2014, 05:56am

In the FT yesterday ... looks like the SNP could still save Glasgow £56M!

Backers of retail development get independence jitters

A flagship £350m development plan to transform the heart of Scotland’s largest city would be at risk if the country leaves the United Kingdom, a person familiar with the project has warned.

At stake is a programme to double the size of Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries, a joint venture between Land Securities, the UK’s biggest listed property company by market value, and TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

Backers of the venture, set to create 1,700 jobs, have privately raised concerns about economic uncertainty following independence and would be prepared to scrap it, the person told the Financial Times.

And more nonsense here:


Posted by: bilbo.s 24th Feb 2015, 10:52pm

£390m Buchanan Galleries extension wins approval

A £390m proposal to extend Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries shopping mall has been approved by Glasgow City Council, clearing the way for work to proceed on than ambitious rebuild of the existing centre this summer.

Architects BDP have drawn up plans to create a new entrance atrium at Killermont Street whilst decking over the entrance to Queen Street Station and demolishing an existing car park to make way for a new M&S store and cinema.

More controversially replacement parking provision will be provided in a 1,500 space MSCP overlooking George Square and the Buchanan Street steps will be demolished to make way for a new ‘entrance atrium’ and through route to the bus station.

GCC leader Gordon Matheson said: “This planning consent will unlock over £300million of private sector investment for Glasgow. Alongside our TIF scheme, the expansion of Buchanan Galleries will improve the city centre’s public realm and infrastructure, and generate 1500 jobs. We are justifiably proud in Glasgow city centre being the UK’s second biggest retail destination, but to ensure we remain in such a position new ways of attracting visitors and investors must be found. The expansion of the Galleries will help us to do so.”

No comment.

Posted by: ktv 25th Feb 2015, 09:02am

im kinda on the fence in this one, agree with some bits of both arguments but for god sake can everyone stop calling the steps "iconic"

they've not been there 20 years and there nothing iconic about them whatsoever.

Posted by: taurus 25th Feb 2015, 09:44pm

Good riddance to the steps as far as I`m concerned. We were walking along the pavement and my elderly brother politely stepped aside to let someone pass and went flying down the steps and got cut. The ambulance came,and they treated my brother like an old derelict,gave him no dignity,and we sat for hours in the casualty at the Royal before he was even seen,all the time we were trying to stop the bleeding. Very bad memories of those steps every time I go back to Glasgow.

Posted by: taurus 25th Feb 2015, 09:47pm

The steps where we had the misfortune were round the corner ,but still part of the complex.

Posted by: GG 14th Nov 2015, 11:33am

A very predictable update from a few months ago on this story ... the mad plan to drastically expand the Buchanan Galleries has been dropped and will never be implemented. Glasgow city councillors are obviously as clueless about economics and market forces as they are about the regeneration of the city.

[...] Buchanan Galleries extension will NEVER go ahead

Fears have been raised that a stalled £400 million supermall project will never go ahead.

The Evening Times reported earlier this month how developers halted their scheme to double the size of Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow - after controversially securing tens of millions of pounds in backing from the city council.

Now opposition politicians have said they believe the scheme may be stopped for good.

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said: “It raises a lot of concerns.

“The fear it raises is that the project won’t go ahead at all.

“It raises serious alarm bells, nobody has been told apart from a press release the developers Land Securities sent out, nobody has been told what the reason is.

“The project stalling makes you think is it actually going to go ahead?

“I haven’t been contacted by Buchannan Galleries or anyone else, normally they would keep in touch if there would be a delay.

“Having looked at their comments I’m concerned there is something we don’t know about." ...

Full story here: