Glasgow’s former Debenhams store on Argyle Street is set to be transformed into offices with a rooftop restaurant after plans were given the green light.

Planners at Glasgow City Council have granted permission for the change of use which the developers hope will safeguard the future of the building.
The project includes a restaurant at roof level with views over the city’s skyline and Argyle Street below as well as rooftop meeting space for the occupiers of the offices.

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Previously Lewis’s Department Store, the B-listed building is being redeveloped as part of the first phase of a wider £50m masterplan for the St Enoch Centre, which includes 1,700 new homes and a four-star hotel. A planning application for the whole scheme is currently being considered by the council.

HeraldScotland: Offices with a rooftop bar will be part of the Debenhams transformation planOffices with a rooftop bar will be part of the Debenhams transformation plan
Plans submitted to the council stated: “The Debenhams building is a very important part of Glasgow, and has long been at the heart of the city’s thriving retail environment. Sadly, the declining department store market dictates that the retention of retail on the upper floor levels is not viable.
“We are retaining an active retail presence at ground floor, and sensitively refurbishing the upper building to restore it to active use and bestow with a renewed purpose and identity to safeguard its future.”

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Sovereign Centros, acting as asset manager for the applicant St Enoch Trustee Company, has previously said the Debenhams building has been earmarked for “efficient workspace that would be attractive to businesses seeking a flexible and central location”. The firm said it will seek a new occupier as soon as possible.
The site was used by Debenhams from the early 90s until it closed early last year. 
“Due to changes in retail trends and patterns across the country and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is deemed to be no suitable retail operators in need of accommodation at this scale,” the application stated.

HeraldScotland: A stunning rooftop bar with city views could be createdA stunning rooftop bar with city views could be created
It added: “Consequently a number of possible alternative uses were investigated for the now vacant floors, culminating in current proposals to repurpose the building to provide a new Grade ‘A’ office development, which will offer a rare opportunity to activate this part of the city centre, and which will act as a catalyst for major regeneration extending East along Argyle Street.”
Plans revealed there will be three lifts to the roof level, which will have a “dedicated external dining terrace enjoying views over Glasgow”. They added: “The scale and quality of development afforded by the elegant facades and generous building floorplate is significant, as it provides the opportunity to secure a large scale occupier, inward investor, or possible public sector occupier.”