Land Securities development to boost Scotland's economy (UK)

Land Securities, the UK's largest commercial property developer, has given approval for a £70-million (approx. €80-million) retail and residential scheme in Glasgow city center, which will help boost Scotland's economy. The redevelopment of the Atlas site is to start this month and is only the second major city center retail development to begin in the UK since the financial downturn.

The project on 185-221 Buchanan Street will strengthen the city's retail offer, support an estimated 100 construction jobs during the development and regenerate an area on the prime retail pitch, which has been blighted by multiple ownership and lack of investment for over 25 years. The scheme is expected to be completed in March 2013, which is well ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

The 155,000-ft² (approx. 14,400-m²) project will be built opposite Buchanan Galleries and will help boost the northern end of Buchanan Street as a retail destination. The mixed-use development will further enhance Glasgow's national and international appeal and reinforce the City's position as the premier retail destination in the UK outside London.

The scheme has got the go-ahead after securing pre-lettings, including the young trendy US fashion brand Forever 21 as the 'anchor' store, which will be the company's third store in the UK and a first for Scotland. The retailer will occupy 60,000 ft² establishing the largest shop letting on Buchanan Street. The development will also include two other large stores, eight shop and restaurant units, and 49 apartments.

The site was acquired out of administration in December 2009 with planning consent for a retail development. Land Securities has received approval for an updated planning application from Glasgow City Council (March 22, 2011).

Land Securities' Chief Executive Francis Salway said: "The multi-million pound development in Glasgow will help boost the Scottish economy, create jobs, strengthen the retail offer in Glasgow city center and regenerate the north end of Buchanan Street. The development has secured a significant pre-letting in Forever 21, which is a great vote of confidence in the City demonstrating that there is a demand from retailers for the right space in the right location.

"We have committed to a £1 billion development program in the UK over the past 12 months which will contribute to economic growth and will be creating about 14,000 jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

"We are leading on new major project starts outside London with this scheme as it follows the £350-million Trinity Leeds development which was the first major city center development to be started after the economic down-turn in the summer last year. Both projects have been given the go-ahead after securing pre-lettings to major retailers so that we are effectively investing side-by-side with our customers in Leeds, and now Glasgow."

Don Chang, Founder and Chief Executive of Forever 21 said: "We are excited about coming to the trendy fashion capital of Scotland and opening one of our largest stores in the UK. This new retail scheme enticed us to enter the Scottish market with a super store that offers the right space in a first-class location."

Source: Land Securities

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