M&S Sauchiehall Street: New plans revealed for historic site in Glasgow

Ambitious new plans which will see a connection between Sauchiehall Street and Renfrew Street being established, as well as new student accommodation, have been revealed as part of a redevelopment of a historic Glasgow site.

Plans have been announced for the redevelopment of the former Marks & Spencer store on Sauchiehall Street.

The proposals would see the creation of a large unit for a new retailer to maintain at street level, as well as recreating the former arcade and providing a publicly accessible connection between Sauchiehall Street and Renfrew Street. The proposal of application notice will be submitted this month.

The upper levels of the former M&S building would have student and potentially other residential accommodation for around 500 residents, with a spacious rooftop terrace and garden.

Marks & Spencers on Sauchiehall Street on August 18, 2020 in Glasgow

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The development is being proposed by student housing developer and operators Fusion Students, following the closure of the historic branch on Sauchiehall Street in April amid changing customer habits following the Covid-19 pandemic, and the closure of many shops and stores in the surrounding area.

The M&S outlet had operated out of the historic art deco building since November 1935 on one of Glasgow’s most famous shopping streets. It was the second M&S store to open in Glasgow following the Argyle Street branch in 1919, but has been lying vacant since its closure.

At the time of the closure of the store, the company said it wanted to ensure a "complementary alternative use" for the historic building.

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A spokesperson for Marks & Spencer said of the new proposals for the building: “We are delighted that these plans are being brought forward to redevelop the site and ensure a positive future for this part of Sauchiehall Street.

“Over the last few months, we have been focussed on making sure this site can find a complementary alternative use, so we’re really pleased that these redevelopment plans are driven by strong design and sustainability credentials and that they are closely in line with the city and council’s vision for the local area.”

A spokesperson for Fusion Students said: “We are excited to be unveiling our proposals for this prominent location on Sauchiehall Street at the former Marks & Spencer site. Glasgow is a first-class university city, with several world-renowned educational institutions which attract students from across the globe.

“The delivery of high-quality accommodation for a growing student population is required to enable the city to maintain its position as an educational powerhouse on the global stage.

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“Our studies have shown that there is a significant undersupply of purpose-built student accommodation in the city, with 73 per cent of the city’s growing student population unable to access this valuable type of accommodation.

“This shortage often leads students into privately rented accommodation, creating pressure on the local housing market.

“By bringing first-class purpose-built accommodation to the city, coupled with carefully thought-out public realm spaces and new retail units, we believe our proposals will enhance this historic street in the heart of Glasgow city centre.”

Fusion Students have completed nine sites across cities in the UK, including in Cardiff, Swansea, and Sheffield.

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