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Major boost for Glasgow market as developer defies Covid to press on with giant office building

DEVELOPERS are pressing ahead with plans for a 200,000 square foot office block on Glasgow’s Clydeside, dismissing claims the coronavirus pandemic will spell the “death” of the office market as “overstated”.

London-based Soller Group has submitted a detailed planning application for the proposed Carrick Square building, hailed as a lynch-pin of ambitions to revitalise the Broomielaw area bordering the International Financial Services District. While some observers have argued the Covid-19 pandemic will lessen demand for office space after the crisis passes, Soller founder and chief executive Nick Treadaway declared yesterday that the rumours of the demise of the office will again prove to be exaggerated.

Mr Treadaway told The Herald: “From our perspective, the pandemic is obviously a major issue, however over the next 12 to 18 months it will resolve itself.

“While people are saying it is death of the office, we do not see it that way.

“There may be changes in the way we work, but the fundamental decline of the office has been overstated before, and I think it is being overstated here.”

Mr Treadaway added: “The site is an outstanding location. We have designed what we think is a fabulous building with a very good design team based in Glasgow.

“We have got CBRE and Ryden on as letting agents, and we are all focused on delivering a good quality product despite the current situation we find ourselves in.”

Soller secured planning in principle consent for the proposed Grade A development, which will be located between Brown Street and Carrick Street, in June

last year.

It is working alongside Glasgow-based Mosaic Architecture + Design on plans for the 14-floor building, which is expected to command panoramic views of the River Clyde and city centre.

The proposals include a large roof terrace and a landscaped public realm linking Brown Street and Carrick Street, featuring a plaza and garden for use by occupiers and the general public.

Soller, which believes the project addresses a dearth of Grade A office development in Glasgow, noted that the building has been designed in a ‘U’ shape to maximise

natural light.

With the scheme providing for bike parking and electric vehicle charging facilities, Mr Treadaway said the trend that has seen well-being thrust to the forefront of building design is here to stay.

Mr Treadaway, who hopes building work will begin in 2021, said: “One of the things we are focused on is making sure the office is as good a place as possible both from a natural light and air circulation perspective, and a health perspective, with the levels of cycling and electric vehicle parking we are including in this building, and on our other schemes around the country.

“It is vitally important to pick up on tenant and occupier requirements, both in the short term and the long term. Wellness is here to stay, as is ESG (environmental, social and governance) and the various other connectivity matters like wired score. All of these measures will be vital when a corporate is choosing which building to take, especially the environmental footprint of the building.”

The Carrick building is Soller’s second project in Glasgow, with the firm previously developing a 301-bed student accommodation building in Cowcaddens, now let to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Mr Treadaway, who noted that investors fund each of its developments on a “deal by deal basis”, said the Carrick deal will not be its last in Scotland.

He said: “We are still keen to do more deals in Glasgow and Scotland as a wider market.”

Neil Haining, director of Mosaic, said: “Our proposed design for Carrick Square responds to Soller Group’s vision for world-class business space that will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Broomielaw area, whilst respecting the heritage and affection that surrounds the Clydeside.

“Key to our proposal is a new carefully-considered public plaza joining Brown and Carrick Streets with the new main entrance and providing much needed public green space to the area. The massing of the building has been sculpted in response to the immediate context of the site, the stepped south facade creates the opportunity for large external terraces with unique southern aspects from the building.”

Mr Treadaway said letting partners Ryden and CBRE were keeping a “weather eye” on potential tenants for the building, noting that Soller was aware of corporates which would soon have new office requirements.

He added: “By submitting our reserved matters application for Carrick Square having had outline planning agreed, we hope to be a step closer to bringing in-demand Grade A office space to Glasgow City Centre. Whilst clearly development across the world is currently paused, we are very optimistic that resilient and forward-thinking businesses will thrive again and continue to look for top-class space in one of the UK’s most vibrant cities. With Glasgow’s development pipeline tightly constrained, the need for ambitious world-class office space will be paramount in the drive to bring new investment and occupiers to Glasgow.”

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