A GLASGOW City Centre site has been transformed with the ongoing construction of a 13-storey building for global financial institution JP Morgan Chase.
The office block on Argyle Street, between Robertson Street and York Street, will be a base for the company’s technology operations in Glasgow, with space available for up to 2,700 employees.
Several buildings were demolished to make way for it — a Category ‘B’ listed former warehouse building, a Category ‘C’ listed tenement and an unlisted single storey building formerly occupied by a pawnbrokers.
At the time of planning approval being given in 2019, city officials stated: “The loss of listed and unlisted buildings of character is always regrettable and frequently controversial and the arguments in favour of their loss often treated with a degree of scepticism.
“For this reason at both national and local level, there are measures in place to ensure that decisions concerning the loss of listed buildings and unlisted buildings in conservation areas are adequately justified.
“It is concluded, with the support of Historic Environment Scotland, that demolition is justified in these cases.”
They aadd: “The listed buildings on the site have been on the Buildings at Risk Register Scotland since 2007 as they were vacant and deemed under threat due to neglect and lack of maintenance. At this time, their condition was recorded as fair, however, photographic records demonstrate a progressive worsening of the condition of the buildings over the past 10 years, largely due to water ingress.
“It should be emphasised that there have been recorded attempts to consolidate ownership of the buildings since at least 2004, which included intervention by the council, however, single ownership was not achieved until 2016/2017 with the applicant being in ownership of the site since 2017.
“The Category ‘B’ listed building at 335-345 Argyle Street and 80-92 York Street is in poor condition, with the worst areas on the principal Argyle Street block at all levels. In many areas the building fabric, including masonry and timber is saturated. In parts of the north section of the building the internal structure of the building has collapsed or is in a state of collapse.
“There are several inter-related factors in relation to the condition of the building that render it difficult, or impossible, to be brought back into a reasonable state of repair to enable its re-use. The main factor is the condition of the external stonework.”
A specialist stonework survey found that “there is no conclusive repair option to guarantee the long-term retention and integrity” of the principal Argyle Street elevation and the corner pavilion with York Street.