HERITAGE watchdogs have agreed that the facade of the former Marks and Spencer store on Sauchiehall Street should not be demolished.
A developer is proposing to knock down the building and build a major mixed-use complex including a large student accommodation facility.
MSP Paul Sweeney has been in talks with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the developer over the proposals and has confirmed that although HES is not in favour of giving listed status to the building, it does want to see the facade preserved.
HES’s response, sent to Glasgow City Council, states: “We consider that the 1935/6 building and its 1938 extension at 172-84 Sauchiehall Street contributes positively to the conservation area and advise that this building should be retained and sensitively incorporated into any redevelopment of this site. Façade retention of this building would be acceptable to us.
“172-84 Sauchiehall Street contains no interior features of interest and its roof is concealed behind the parapet. The building is not seen in the round and only its façade contributes to the character of the conservation area.
“We therefore consider that its façade could be incorporated into a new building without diminishing its contribution to the conservation area.
“It would, however, be important to ensure that any replacement building was designed carefully to allow the historic frontage to retain its historic proportions and it character as an individual building.”
Mr Sweeney said: “This update and clarification from Historic Environment Scotland, that there should be a presumption against demolition, is warmly welcome.
“The façade of the old M&S unit contributes positively to Sauchiehall Street and is one of the few examples of art deco architecture in the city.
“It should be retained, and I am hopeful the developer will work towards that eventual outcome.”
A planning application has still to be submitted.