Plans unveiled for 36-floor student housing tower block in city centre

The proposals would see two buildings of 36-storeys and ten-storeys built in Glasgow.

Plans unveiled for 36-floor tower block of student flats in Glasgow city centre Hawkins Brown

A planning application for new student homes on the site of the former HMRC building at Charing Cross in Glasgow has been submitted to the city’s council.

Developer Watkin Jones Group has submitted the application for student homes at the Portcullis House on India Street.

If consented, the new development will be called The Ard.

The planning application will regenerate the site, partially demolishing the existing former HMRC building on India Street and proposing the part-retention of the existing concrete frame. 

Two buildings of 36-storeys and ten-storeys, totalling 784 student beds, are proposed.

The development will also provide the charity, Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN), with a new home as it will occupy a ground floor unit free of charge. 

Alongside it will be a double height flexible commercial space facing Charing Cross station, which is likely to be used for a cafe, workspace or similar.

GSEN will use the space for a variety of purposes, including providing training opportunities for both social enterprises and students, as well as delivering a tech recycling programme, offering free or low-cost tech to students and social enterprises, serving to reduce tech waste.

Developers say that the properties will “help to address a recognised chronic undersupply of student accommodation in Glasgow”. 

The number of full-time students in the city’s five Higher Education Institutions (‘HEI’) is anticipated to rise from more than 75,000 full time students in 2021/22 to more than 96,000 in 2026/27. 

A sky lounge on the top floor of the taller building will provide a viewing deck for far reaching views of the surrounding cityscape which will be used in a highly managed way for pre-booked institutional, civic and business type events.

The development will incorporate the use of low and zero carbon technologies such as heat pumps and low energy lighting and is highly accessible by public transport and pedestrian/cycle routes.

Iain Smith, planning director of Watkin Jones, commented: “This exciting development at The Ard will regenerate a brownfield site bringing vitality to this part of the city, providing high-quality and much-needed student homes, in addition to greatly increased public realm.

“It will help to address a chronic undersupply of student accommodation, as well as repopulating the city centre and benefit local businesses as part of an overall renewal of the west end.

“We are delighted to welcome Glasgow Social Enterprise Network who will accommodate space in the building, should it be consented. This organisation will support the delivery of the next generation of entrepreneurs, also working with those students living in the building.” 

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce commented: “It is fantastic to see this level of investment being proposed for Glasgow by a developer with an exceptional track record for investment in the city.

“The student age population in Glasgow is increasing, and the city’s three largest institutions are all targeting continued, significant growth in their latest strategic plans.

“Delivering high-quality student homes will address this increasing demand and will also serve to retain skilled young people in the city as well as regenerating the city centre, which is a key aspiration of the city council.

“The site has excellent transport links and local businesses will clearly benefit from these proposals. Innovative developments such as this are to be greatly welcomed.” 

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