By Kristy Dorsey

The developer behind the regeneration of the former McLellan Galleries in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street has launched what is thought to be a first-of-its-kind green office initiative in Scotland.

The move by Bywater Properties follows completion of the first stage of refurbishment of what is now known as McLellan Works, covering an entire block of retail space at ground level, plus three floors of office space. That phase of work was completed on schedule despite the disruption caused by coronavirus health restrictions.

Bywater’s Dan Mead said the facility has attracted a reasonable amount of interest from prospective tenants, particularly among firms looking to either downsize their existing space or those wishing to move out of serviced accommodation. However, there remains reluctance to commit amid prevailing economic uncertainty.

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Bywater is hoping to enhance its proposition with a sustainable circular economy furniture project providing offices an a “ready to go” basis. For an additional fee spread over time, firms can have their workspace fitted out with goods reclaimed from the millions of tonnes of office furniture that goes to landfill in the UK every year.

It has been estimated that more than 40 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions of a commercial building over a 40-year lifespan are generated from the office fit-out, of which 38% comes from furniture.

Mr Mead said that by offering this service, tenants will be able to enhance their green credentials by showing they are doing their part to help the environment. This works particularly well in a setting where the building has been refurbished, as there are limits to what can be done to improve the efficiency of an older existing structure.

“When you have an existing building, there is only so much you can do in a green sense,” he explained.

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“But the furniture is a really, really big thing as well. In the UK, we send about 75,000 tonnes of office furniture to landfill every week.”

Bywater has teamed up with London-based Rype Office, which specialises in remanufacturing high-quality used furniture to as-new condition. Glasgow interior specialist c2:concepts has been commissioned to design the final packages, which will be available later this year when formal viewings at McLellan Works are able to resume.

Bywater paid approximately £7 million for the site, and has invested a further “multi-million pound” sum in its overhaul.

In addition to the retailing on the ground floor, there are two suits of approximately 5,000sq ft on the third floor, and 11 smaller suites of 550 to 1,500sq ft on the first floor. The second floor, which has yet to be refurbished, is occupied by an existing tenant.