WORK is underway on the final phase of a Maryhill residential development which includes preservation of a historic school building.
The 85-unit North Kelvin Apartments scheme by Spectrum Properties involves conversion of the former Shakespeare Street public school into 29 apartments and construction of two new-build blocks of flats.
Work is nearing completion on the building fronting Hathaway Street which has 24 apartments, all of which have been sold. The third phase is for 32 flats in a block facing Shanks Street.
The project has saved the red sandstone school building which dates from 1915 and has created a landscaped space within the Edwardian property’s playground to provide residents’ gardens.
Bill Roddie, director of family-owned Spectrum Properties, said: “The old school at Shakespeare Street is a remarkable building which maximised natural light for its pupils with two-and-a-half storey windows.
“We are pleased not only to have preserved it but also to have mirrored its architectural qualities and tall windows in the new buildings while remaining in keeping with the surrounding built environment.”
The Shakespeare Building is the latest in a long line of architecturally significant properties which have been kept in the city’s heritage portfolio by Spectrum, using advanced preservation and restoration techniques such as façade retention.
One of the largest property companies in Scotland, it has converted sites such as Hillhead High School in Cecil Street in Glasgow, the former Hydepark Public School in Springburn and Shettleston Public Baths.
It also converted art collector and city benefactor Sir William Burrell’s Great Western Road mansion and is currently engaged in the retention and development of the former Golfhill School near Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Although Spectrum has moved into residential development in the last 10 years, its primary focus remains on commercial property. It owns some 700 commercial premises across the city, comprising 70 per cent of its group holdings.
Mr Roddie said: “Buildings from the past century can sometimes fall through the net in the city’s estate and become prey to dilapidation, vandalism and water penetration. With the best will in the world, sometimes cash-strapped councils just do not have the resources to make the most of them.
“This is where outside contractors who have specialist skills -– especially, like us, in brownfield and listed buildings –- can make a contribution and give these important properties a whole new lease of life.”
Spectrum Properties directly employs 75 people and the same number of sub-contractors. It is actively recruiting to cope with rapid expansion. Established by Mr Roddie in 1988, the company now has a portfolio valuation of £60 million and a turnover in excess of £5 million.