PROPOSALS have been brought forward to knock down under-used offices overlooking Blythswood Square and build a student accommodation block.
Courie Investments Limited have applied for planning permission to redevelop a corner site at 249 West George Street. The new building would have nearly 150 studios.
A document submitted to Glasgow City planners states: “After careful assessment, the design team has concluded that the existing building should be demolished and the site be redeveloped to provide Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).
“As a new-build PBSA development, the building shall meet the highest standards in student residential design providing a mix of accommodation and innovative amenity spaces. It will be designed specifically for low-energy operation.”
The current building was designed in 1972 by the architects R Seifert & Co Partnership and provides about 32,000 sq ft of office space over the ground plus six floors.
A further statement in application documents explains: “The office space, while still partially occupied, has been unable to attract occupiers on traditional office leases since the collapse of DLA Piper’s lease over the entire building in 2015.
“There are a variety of site-epecific factors which have contributed to the situation; chief among these are deficiencies in the building’s design which render it unadaptable to modern Grade-A office requirements which are now routinely expected by prospective tenants in this area of the city.
“The positioning of the lift cores prevents floor layouts being altered or adapted to meet differing needs, while the small lifts provided fall short of the requirements of the most recent Equality Act Legislation.
“Basic refurbishments and repairs to the building will no longer provide office space that would be expected by the market.”
The building was considered for listing by Historic Environment Scotland in 2012, but was rejected as it did not meet the criteria as a being of special architectural or historic interest.
The applicant states: “The existing building has no townscape value and does not make a positive contribution to the conservation area.
“[It] is in a poor condition. Any value attached by Glasgow City Council to the external appearance of the sandstone cladding would…be lost over time through the maintenance and replacement of the cladding.
“The building also fails to effectively ‘mimic’ the architectural features of nearby listed Georgian buildings which front Blythswood Square.
“The design of the proposed development will fit comfortably with the character of the surrounding townscape, improve the vitality of the streetscape, and will serve to enhance the setting of nearby listed buildings and the wider Central Conservation Area.”