ONE of Glasgow's most distinguished galleries, largely unused since 2006, is to be given a new lease of life by the end of this year.

Several significant arts institutions are interested in permanently using the McLellan Galleries, in Sauchiehall Street.

Owner Glasgow City Council will not sell the building but it is prepared to lease the historic property, named after Archibald McLellan, a councillor and patron of the arts, to a "long term tenant" by 2015.

This tenant would have to "take a collaborative approach to other organisations who may be interested in using the galleries" so that it could be used for a variety of different uses.

In recent years, the McLellan Galleries have languished in obscurity. The large display spaces are in good condition, but are currently empty.

Over the past 15 years, they have been used by Glasgow School of Art and have hosted one-off exhibitions, including Art Treasures of Kelvingrove. Recently the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (RGI) had its annual exhibition there and the forthcoming GI Festival will also use the gallery spaces, dating from 1856.

However, to have the property back into full time use requires "major works" on the fabric and services of the building. It will cost around £200,000 a year to run the venue as a full time concern,

Glasgow Life, the arms length body which runs the city's museums and galleries, confirmed it did not see a future for the galleries as an additional arts venue without public subsidy.

A council source said: "The council have been working with Glasgow Life, City Property and representatives of the city's arts community to look at future uses for the building. There is definite market interest, largely from organisations in the cultural sector, interest that would meet the community benefit objectives of the council."