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Development moves a step closer

Goldbergs site ready to be reborn as Candleriggs quarter

GoldbergsFilling the last big gap site in Glasgow’s Merchant city has moved a step closer today with the submission of plans for the site of the former Goldbergs department store.

The proposed Candleriggs Quarter development (pictured) is a 50/50 joint venture between the investment arm of Mace and funds managed by Mercer Real Estate Partners.

A number of changes have been made to the scheme following nine months of detailed discussions involving the City Council and local stakeholders. More than 70 people attended public consultations in September last year in nearby City Halls.

Merchant City and Trongate Community Council and the Glasgow Urban Design Panel were among those represented.

The 1.49 hectare gap site is bounded by Wilson Street, Hutcheson Street, Candleriggs and Trongate and is seen by many as one of the last pieces of the Merchant City regeneration jigsaw. Building work is scheduled to begin early next year.

Critics say the new buildings still show little sensitivity to the sandstone buildings in the vicinity and are yet another series of glass boxes being imposed on the city.

History of the site

It has lain derelict since the closure of the Weisfelds store, opened in 1994 by What Everyone Wants founders Gerald and Vera Weisfeld, who had hoped to recreate some of the spirit and retail excitement around the old Goldbergs store (pictured). It had been an established fixture in the city until 1990, a year after a failed takeover bid by Blacks Leisure.

Goldbergs went into receivership and ceased trading, having suffered losses of £10 million. The Weisfelds tried reopened the flagship Glasgow store around a similar concept to their previous business .  But an attempt at attracting a mix of high worth and discount customers proved fatal and it closed in 1999.

The building was partially demolished in 2002 following the collapse of an adjacent tenement due to unstable foundations. The site was acquired by Selfridges, but plans for the company to build its first Scottish store on the site were shelved in 2007.

After much pressure from Glasgow City Council, Selfridges began demolition in late 2013, with interim plans to turn the site into a landscaped area in preparation for the Commonwealth Games although plans for the department store remained on hold. The proposals were formally abandoned in May 2014, when Selfridges sold the site to a private developer.

Goldbergs was regarded as being ahead of its time, developing new methods of merchandising, and it was the first store in the UK to introduce instore walkways to get customers from one department to another. It was a maze of small passages that linked the several buildings.

Candleriggs Quarter

New plans

The Candleriggs Quarter scheme will include a mix of retail, commercial and residential and proposes that a new public square be named Brunswick Place in recognition of it being the alleged birthplace of the first Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John A Macdonald, 200 years ago.

It will comprise:

·         135 private for sale apartments to the north east corner (Wilson Street/Candleriggs) of the site with entrances off Wilson Street and the new public square.

·         377 private for rent apartments along Candleriggs and to Trongate with a singular entrance off the south east corner of the square helping enliven the new public space.

·         124-room boutique hotel facing onto the public square with ground floor entrances on both Candleriggs and the square

·         597 bed student accommodation block to the west of the site fronting Hutcheson Street and the square

·         Circa 5,300m2 (57,000 sq. ft.) of ground floor ‘high street’ and ‘food and beverage retail to Trongate, Candleriggs, Wilson Street and the public square. The units vary in size and cater for some of the smaller local niche retailers as well as the well-known high street brands.

·         Circa 3,300m2 (25,000 sq.ft.) of ground floor public spaces including a new central square “Brunswick Place”, a new diagonal South West – North East route connecting Argyll Street/Trongate through to Merchant Square and City Halls and a new South East route opposite the pedestrian lane New Wynd to the square.

Development Director for Mace, Mike Myles said: “We are delighted to maintain the momentum on the site and move the proposed scheme to the next stage following an extensive period of pre-application planning discussions. We have worked hard over the past six months with Glasgow City Council and local stakeholders to design a scheme which we believe will positively contribute to the already successful Merchant City.”

Mace Investments chief executive, David Grover said: “We are extremely excited with the plans that have been developed so far which we believe provides a comprehensive mixed used scheme that will cater for all age groups. We very much see this as a place that people will want to live, shop and relax and look forward to moving the development to the delivery stage.”

Craig Wallace, director of planning and development for letting agent JLL in Scotland, said: “The plans submitted today are the culmination of a period of careful planning and preparation for the Candleriggs Quarter scheme, which is intended to regenerate the area securing a significant level of investment and numerous job opportunities. We look forward to progressing into the next stage of development and watching the area take shape.”

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