A SERIES of images have been released showing how a regenerated part of Glasgow could evolve with the demolition of a flagship shopping mall.

The Herald can today reveal exclusive artist's impressions as the launch of the second stage of the consultation on the future of Buchanan Galleries gets under way.

Images show how replacing the existing Buchanan Galleries building, would create more green and public spaces, street level shops and restaurants and better connectivity across the city.

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Owner Landsec’s vision is to replace the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre with a new, net zero mixed-use urban district in the heart of Glasgow city centre.

The bold plan would see Glasgow lose 2000 car parking spaces through a proposed demolition of the mall, but it is in a bid to encourage sustainable travel.

HeraldScotland: A sketch shows how the area could look from Dundas StreetA sketch shows how the area could look from Dundas Street (Image: Landsec)

Landsec announced earlier this year that they proposed to pull down the shopping centre, which is just over 20 years old, to reinstate the city grid and develop a mixed used urban environment - an “inclusive district.”

Even before the pandemic, it was recognised that shopping habits had changed. Landsec believed the city had an over provision of retail and that a different path was required.

With strong existing transport links including two train stations, a bus station, and subway they are keen to promote sustainable, active travel as part of future plans.

HeraldScotland: First look images show how the Buchanan district could evolveFirst look images show how the Buchanan district could evolve (Image: Landsec)

Nick Davis, senior development director of Landsec, said: “It is about taking away the reliance on the car, the 2000 space multi-storey car park will be demolished and won’t be replaced as we are wanting the bus, train, or cycle to be prominent. The aspiration of the platform for us is based around sustainability and this will be a net zero carbon development. That in itself starts to elevate it to a different proposition at national and international level.”

Landsec say they are committed to Glasgow and its future. The city could have found itself in a completely different position when it was realised bold change was not only needed, but coming. In the past, obsolete shopping centres would have been pulled down, perhaps leaving a gap site, but action is being taken now to steer Glasgow in the right direction while also leading the way. Mr Davis believes that the £1billion St James Quarter, which opened in Edinburgh last year, will be the last of the dedicated shopping developments.

Read more: Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries could be 'demolished' to create urban neighbourhood

Mr Davis added: “Even pre-pandemic we began to look at the future of Buchanan Galleries as a retail destination in a city which in our view is over supplied with retail, not necessarily the city centre but in the context of Glasgow where you have got the out of town centres Braehead, Silverburn and the Fort. Retail requirements are changing as well and when we looked at this pre-covid we considered the size and reducing the amount of retail space, then covid came and that structural change to retail was already happening - covid accelerated that change.

“The retail sector is in a very different place. We saw Glasgow as the Z of retail with Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argle Street – that is changing. Marks and Spencer have pulled out of Sauchiehall Street and a number of retailers in the city had dual representation.

“We engaged a company called My Folio and had a visioning idealisation for the Buchanan district to find out what do people want from the regeneration of a 10 acre site in the city centre.

“One of the things that came back was that the city can’t have its future reliance on retail. It has proven successful in the past but the retail structural change has kicked in. There is also the success of the music venues and the conferencing sector, hotels, that all supports the city economy.”

HeraldScotland: A reimagined area with retail, restaurants, and greater public space could be consideredA reimagined area with retail, restaurants, and greater public space could be considered (Image: Landsec)

One option was to repurpose part of the exiting centre for alternative use, however there was challenges around the structural capacity so the viability wasn’t there for alternative use. It then led them to the vision of reinstating the city grid.

“If we recreated the city grid and network of public streets and public spaces around new city blocks, we could retain retail and restaurants and active uses on the ground floor, with the upper part being a variety of uses from Grade A offices, Tech innovations, residential, hotels,” added Mr Davis.

“It started a journey which led to positive feedback around the regeneration of a district which looks forward at the post covid recovery of one of Scotland’s premier cities.”

The project would generate 3000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs along with GVA to the economy of £1.25billion per annum.

HeraldScotland: Glasgow's reliance on retail is changing post pandemicGlasgow's reliance on retail is changing post pandemic (Image: Newsquest)

The second phase of the consultation process begins today and Landsec say they are keen to engage and hear from people, residents and businesses on their thoughts about their plans.

Mr Davis added: "The principal around the creation of new streets means we can create a place and purpose. Within the masterplan there is the creation of a new civic building or hub and to me it is about creating a new destination within Glasgow - a standout destination for the people of Glasgow. It could be to do with education, business, or innovation and promoting the city in an international context. We are getting some great traction from a number of potential operators of that space."

Among the feedback from the first phase of consultation was a desire for more public space rather than traditional retail, however Mr Davis said there is still the potential for flagship retail stores on Buchanan Street and independent stores on a new Dundas Street towards Cathedral Street.

HeraldScotland: Improved public space are key to future plans for the Buchanan districtImproved public space are key to future plans for the Buchanan district (Image: Landsec)

Last week leading architect Professor Alan Dunlop told The Herald about his concerns for the landmark Concert Hall steps with the statue of Scotland’s first First Minister close by, keeping a watchful over Buchanan Street.

While no decisions have been taken on the Concert Hall steps, proposals outline the potential options for reconfiguration to deliver a more accessible entrance which would continue to serve as an outdoor gathering place for public activities and events.

On the question of where the Donald Dewar statue fits into the redesign, Mr Davis said: “I think what will be very prevalent here will be about the quality and quantum of public realm. What is currently covered mall space, when we remove the covered environment, there is going to be a series of streets and spaces and public realm is going to be massively increased and the quality improved. Of course there will be a place for Donald Dewar.”

Details of how the public and community can get involved are available on the Commonplace website: https://buchanangalleries.commonplace.is/