THE chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has revealed that an “open call” for submissions of business proposals for the Glasgow City Region Investment Zone is oversubscribed with a “very healthy list” of projects now to be considered before the successful applications are announced in the summer.

Stuart Patrick, speaking on the Go Radio Business Show, said: “The investment zone is designed to attract business investment with either direct grant fund or tax incentives with the focus on encouraging investment in emerging industries and in partnership with our local universities.

“The open call asked for projects to stimulate economic growth in advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, or digital and enabling technologies like AI or quantum engineering. That the call has been so popular bodes well for large-scale investment those new industries, all of which are rich in scientific research and innovation.”

Entrepreneurs hail investment in Glasgow but warn support is needed

Attracting private investment to Glasgow’s “much-criticised” city centre was crucial, Mr Patrick noted. “It has to be the main answer to the problem of empty units and derelict sites,” he added, “and those have been the focus of debate once again.

“We know that Scotland’s public sector budgets are becoming severely overstretched so we have to be evermore determined to turn the pipeline of private sector development proposals into reality.”

Mr Patrick highlighted recent successes in this sphere including the formal launch of private bank JP Morgan’s new office complex on Glasgow’s Argyle Street, employing 2,700 people, and the opening of The Social Hub, a hybrid hotel/co-working space concept which is part of Drum’s project at the city’s Candleriggs.

However, he added that the next task must be to ensure that projects in the current pipeline come to fruition, such as the Fusion Students development at the former M&S retail unit on Sauchiehall Street.

Glasgow city centre investment must be made easier

The refreshed Glasgow City Centre Task Force, he said, had a focus on “proactive intervention” with the city council and partners looking to help repurpose empty units and derelict sites.

One example, Mr Patrick noted, was the announcement by Glasgow Life of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support for the Sauchiehall Street: Culture and Heritage District under its £200 million Heritage Places programme.

The initial £350,000 will support the development of further applications for support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund under this programme. Glasgow is one of the first cohort of nine places to receive support under Heritage Places, a total of 20 locations are due to be identified under the 10-year £200m programme.