Two announcements made in the last week suggest the scale of change that is coming to Glasgow city centre.

Landsec announced the beginning of a consultation with the public on the future of Buchanan Galleries, with a City Council paper showing that demolition of the existing shopping mall for a completely new urban district was a possible outcome.

This landed just after the news that Marks and Spencer revealed that their Sauchiehall Street shop would be closing in the spring, adding further momentum to the obvious decline of what was once the pinnacle of Glasgow’s retail offer.

The recent pressure on Glasgow’s city centre has been intense. Footfall in December on the main shopping streets was 37 per cent down on the same month in 2019 with the working from home directive especially damaging.

The Centre for Cities’ most recent high street tracker data shows that compared to other major UK cities like Manchester and Leeds, footfall has recovered better at weekends and in the evenings.

It is weekdays where Glasgow is struggling with only London showing worse footfall recovery.

There is no debate that coronavirus restrictions have accelerated the pre-existing trend from bricks and mortar to online shopping.

There were already well-rehearsed industry predictions that demand for high street retail space would reduce by as much as 30% from its peak.

It is plain to see those forecasts playing out in Sauchiehall Street and Argyle Street, with the former also suffering two major fires that have left prominent derelict sites in their wake. Pessimism that decline will be hard to reverse would be understandable.

Yet a more positive story can be told. For the first time since the pandemic began, the working from home guidance will be lifted next month.

Chamber member feedback suggests that hybrid working is likely to be a common policy but we cannot be sure of its scale or permanence until the return to the office begins in earnest.

Equally the removal of the remaining Omicron social distancing requirements will allow nightclubs, theatres and music venues to reopen.

The theories on the longer term pandemic impact on the city centre can now be tested.

It has though become a common view that city centres will have to adapt with a greater emphasis on homes, leisure and high quality innovative workplaces.

Landsec’s thinking on Buchanan Galleries follows a similar announcement by Sovereign Centros on the future for the St Enoch Centre. This is surely a major opportunity for the city.

Two of the largest investors in Glasgow retail property are now engaging with the City Council and demonstrating their desire to help make the changes the city centre needs.

Both have carried out extensive market assessments and can marshal the finances needed to move their assets from a dominant retail focus to a richer mix of services that could add real diversity. Sovereign Centros is already moving to fill the void left by Debenhams’ closure with new homes and office space.

Other positive signs include Moda Living’s Holland Park development on Pitt Street bringing 433 new homes, while McLellan Works has also brought modern workspaces to the area. Glasgow School of Art’s restoration of the Mackintosh will also surely be a catalyst for change.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that more needs to be done to help the two streets adapt. It is an issue that Glasgow’s City Centre Taskforce is taking very seriously.

The Scottish Government has funded the Taskforce to agree actions that would help move empty units on to a new use. It may not be specifically focused on the two streets but they will not be overlooked.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce