Developer Spectrum Properties snaps up historic building in Glasgow to create rental properties

A property-developer has added the A-listed Mansion House in Glasgow’s East End to its portfolio, in a move it says will safeguard the future of the “Scottish baronial masterpiece”.

Family-owned Spectrum Properties, which operates in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirlingshire, has revealed that it has paid an undisclosed sum to save the property in Tollcross Park, and it plans to spend a further £1 million converting its 13 "spacious” apartments for rental.

The Glasgow-based firm, which says it is one of the largest property companies in Scotland, says this will create “much-needed” homes that will form the “centrepiece” of the park and be ready for market by the end of next year.

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The purchase, from Shettleston Housing Association, is the latest development in the building’s 174-year history. It was built by the architect David Bryce for the mine-owning Dunlop family, and it features classic crow-stepped gables, corbelled turrets and pointed roofs, while the new homes will be served by a private road through the park.

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The firm’s managing director Bill Roddie said: “The Mansion House is a quite spectacular property, built in a distinctive Scottish style and set on the summit of what was then the Dunlop family’s private estate.”

He added that the building is similar to the mansion on Glasgow’s Great Western Road of art collector and city benefactor Sir William Burrell, which the firm restored as high-end apartments a couple of years ago.

Regarding Mansion House, Mr Roddie said: “As ever, we plan to undertake a sympathetic restoration of the entire property, keeping it in its original form and retaining the 13 residential apartments currently onsite.

'When completed, Tollcross House will be the centrepiece of the park,' says Spectrum Properties boss Bill Roddie. Picture: contributed.

“It has had its ups and downs over the years, and at one stage was facing demolition before it was preserved by a far-sighted restoration project which was completed nearly 30 years ago. We are delighted now to be able to take on the challenge of custodianship.

“When completed, Tollcross House will be the centrepiece of the park and will complement other improvement work such as the £1m restoration of the Winter Gardens glass house, which is a classic example of its kind.”

Spectrum Properties added that it has already preserved “much of” Glasgow’s Victorian architectural and industrial heritage, also stating that it has invested tens of millions of pounds in saving and repurposing properties of “recognised architectural merit”.

Preservation

It has been involved in preserving properties such as Victorian warehouses in French Street and Carstairs Street in Dalmarnock; the Shakespeare Street school in the West End; the façade and towers of Golfhill School in Dennistoun; and a factory on the 19th century Dixon’s Blazes Industrial Estate.

The business has also restored and converted sites such as Hillhead High School in Cecil Street in Glasgow, the former Hydepark Public School in Springburn, and Shettleston Public Baths.

Spectrum Properties has moved into residential development in the last decade, but its primary focus remains commercial property. Last year it flagged its purchase of Rutherglen’s Lloyd Street Industrial Estate, planning to invest around £250,000 to upgrade relevant infrastructure, for example.

The company directly employs 75 people, with the same number of sub-contractors, and points out that it is growing its workforce. Established by Mr Roddie in 1988, it says it now has a portfolio valuation of £60 million and turns over more than £5m.

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