A first look at the transformation of Glasgow’s former Sauchiehall Street Marks and Spencer store into a residential and retail complex has been revealed.
Developers have announced a public consultation event will take place in November on their proposals for student, and potentially other residential accommodation, for around 500 people with shopping facilities on the ground floor level.
The plans come amidst a widespread shortage of student accommodation in the city, with recent reports that some students are being advised to defer their studies due to the lack of suitable accommodation.
A consultation at the CitizenM Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday, November 2, will be open to the public where they can view the proposals and leave feedback to shape the plans, Fusion Students said.
“Sauchiehall Street is synonymous with Glasgow and these proposals have been designed to offer a range of active uses that will contribute to the long-term vibrancy of one of the city’s main throughfares,” said Ben Henry, head of acquisitions at Fusion Students.
“There is clearly a student accommodation crisis in Glasgow at the moment with just 27% of the city’s student population able to access purpose-built student accommodation and these proposals would help to address that shortfall.”
Proposals by the developer would see a new retailer come in at street level as well as recreating the former arcade and creating a public path between Sauchiehall Street and Renfrew Street.
The upper levels of the former M&S building would have student and potentially other residential accommodation for around 500 people, and will also boast a “spacious” rooftop terrace and garden.
In what was described as another blow in the “collapse” of the city’s Sauchiehall Street, M&S’s shutters came down on April 30.
M&S’s regional manager said the company would talk with a potential partner to take on the Art Deco site for “complementary” alternative use.
The new development is being brought forward by Fusion Students, a residential and student housing developer and operator.
Fusion Students said studies show there is a significant undersupply of purpose-built student accommodation in the city.
It comes days after University of Glasgow students were told to withdraw from their courses due to a housing “crisis” leaving them with nowhere to live.
A spokesperson for Fusion Students said: “The delivery of high-quality accommodation for a growing student population is required to enable to city to maintain its position as an educational powerhouse on the global stage.
“By bringing first-class purpose-built accommodation to the city, coupled with carefully thought-out public realm spaces and new retail units, we believe our proposals will enhance this historic street in the heart of Glasgow city centre.”
Fusion Students anticipates a formal proposal involving the plans will be submitted to the city council in this months with a full statutory consultation schedule announced thereafter.
A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said the business was “delighted” the plans were being brought forward to redevelop the site and “ensure a positive future for this part of Sauchiehall Street”.
“Over the last few months, we have been focussed on making sure this site can find a complementary alternative use, so we’re really pleased that these redevelopment plans are driven by strong design and sustainability credentials and that they are closely in line with the city and council’s vision for the local area,” they added.
Last month, it was announced that the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith would lose its M&S store.
The Simply Food shop in will shut down with the company citing “changing” shopping habits as the reason – the same as for a wave of closures announced in January.
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