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James

£18m to save city centre ‘Greek’ Thomson gem

£18m to save city centre gem (© Evening Times)



An £18 million plan will see the transformation of one of Glasgow’s architectural
gems into a 136-bedroom hotel.


For 30 years the Egyptian Halls in Union Street have lain mostly empty and
partly derelict. But all that is about to change with plans to convert the A-listed
Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson designed former warehouse into a swish hotel.

Cash will come from the Better Glasgow Fund which was set up two years ago
to fund regeneration and the protection of historic buildings. It is hoped the
hotel will act as a springboard for the wider regeneration of Union Street. On
Friday, Glasgow councillors will be asked to contribute £1m towards the cost of
the scheme from the Better Glasgow Fund.

Union Street Investments own the historic building which is now regarded as
being at risk. The firm has agreed that Derbyshire-based Longrose Buccleuch
will manage the building with the hotel franchise being taken over by the Accor
group. It already operates 850 hotels in nearly 100 countries.

Derek Souter of Union Street Investments said: “This is fantastic news for Glasgow a
nd Union Street and would also be a significant boost for Glasgow’s construction
industry. As well as creating more than 60 construction and 80 full and part-time
jobs when trading, it will preserve Scotland’s architectural heritage.”

The Egyptian Halls are considered by many to be architect Alexander ‘Greek’
Thomson’s finest building. Over the past 30 years, various plans to refurbish
the Halls have been frustrated by the fact it had a large number of individual
owners. The city council eventually stepped in on behalf of majority owner
Union Street Properties and began preparing compulsory purchase orders for the
rest of the building. As a result all the other owners agreed to sell up and Union
Street Properties now owns the entire building.

The company, Historic Scotland and the council looked at options for the Halls
including keeping the facade and demolishing everything behind it, adding a
rooftop extension, or flattening the building and redeveloping the site.

A report to councillors, says: “Given the status of the building and its importance
to the heritage of Glasgow, USP has been advised demolition/redevelopment
would not be supported by the council or Historic Scotland.”

But studies show no other options are financially viable. The option which shows
the smallest financial loss involves shops at basement and ground floor levels
and a hotel on the first to fourth floors with the addition of a rooftop extension.
The part of the hotel in the existing building would be three star with the new
extension four star.

The report adds: “Historic Scotland appears to accept compromise is necessary
and that without some radical design changes to the building no refurbishment
will take place and the deterioration will continue.

“The initial development appraisal suggests the development will cost
approximately £18m but will show a loss of £5m based on the estimated returns.
There is therefore no prospect of proceeding without external funding support.”

Union Street Properties is in the process of raising £17m and has asked the
city council to provide the other £1m.

Steve Inch, the council’s executive director of development and regeneration,
said: “The council has been anxious to see this important Grade A listed building
restored and returned to productive use for many years. We hope our proposed
financial support will bolster the regeneration of Union Street.”

The council is likely to draw up a legal agreement allowing it to claw back cash
if the building costs are not as high as expected or if it is sold on for above
its estimated cost.

Garin Davies of Longrose Buccleuch said: “We assess many project opportunities
and this is one which is near the top of the list we want to become involved with.”

Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said:
“This is a building of the first importance, not simply in Glasgow or Scotland but
in European terms.”



James H
Stuball

136 bedrooms and Accor chain means it's probably going to be an Ibis
womble

or are the nee naws going to give it a wee visit

James

£2.3m plea for historic city ‘icon’ (© Evening Times)



A historic building in Glasgow city centre may have to be demolished … unless
£2.35million can be found to save it.


The 138-year-old A-Listed Egyptian Halls in Union Street, opposite the side
entrance to Central Station, were designed by Alexander “Greek” Thomson
and are regarded as one of the finest buildings in Glasgow. The building has
lain empty and partly derelict for 30 years and is now hidden behind scaffolding
and a giant hoarding.

Owner Derek Souter, director of Union Street Properties, invited the Evening
Times to tour the impressive structure. What we found was a building crying
out for attention, with plaster falling off the walls and ceilings, and decades of
neglect evident round every corner.

Mr Souter said: “I believe the building is very close to being unable to be repaired,
which would mean it would eventually become dangerous.”

If that happened, it is almost certain the Egyptian Halls would have to be  
demolished and the site cleared. Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation
Of architects in Scotland, said: “There is no question that the Egyptian Halls is
the finest surviving example of an Alexander Thomson commercial building.
This is a building of the first international importance and it would be a great
pity if lack of a relatively small amount of money in terms of public expenditure,
condemned this building.”

Mr Souter admits he is frustrated that the Scottish Government, through Historic
Scotland, has given large grants to other projects but – he claims – is refusing to
give enough to save an architectural gem. He said: “This is a 200-job project, in
a street that needs regenerating, in a city that needs every job it can get. It is
a fantastic location, but it is a street that has never had any regeneration, which is
such a pity. Central Station has 27million passengers a year, but Union Street has
nothing on it to make people stop before they go on to the station.”

Work on the halls started in March 1870 and the building was completed in 1872.
It was apparently built in emulation of the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly. Mr Souter
first got involved with the former market in 1998 when he bought the first of the
four shops at street level and has been fighting to save the building ever since.
Because of ownership issues, he did not purchase the upper four floors
until 2008.

He wants to upgrade the shops and transform the rest of the building into a 136-bed
hotel in a project costing around £24million. The Accor group, which operates 850
hotels in nearly 100 countries, is keen to get involved and take up the hotel
franchise. If the hotel became a reality, it would create 200 jobs, help regenerate
Union Street and result in around £300,000 a year in business rates being paid
to the council.

But there is one major problem – lack of money.

Union Street Properties and sister company Union Street Investments have so
far spent £5m on the project and Mr Souter says they are willing to invest a
further £12m. The city council has agreed a £1m grant and Historic Scotland a
grant of around £1.65m, leaving about £4.35m still to be found before work can
start. Mr Souter says his firms are prepared to fund a further £2m but wants the
Scottish Government to provide the remaining £2.35m. He pointed out it recently
awarded Abbotsford House, the Melrose home of Sir Walter Scott, a grant of £4m.

He added: “We have shouldered all the risks with this project for 12 years because
we will not make any money from it for next five and 10 years.”

If the money cannot be found, the halls would be mothballed, resulting in it
deteriorating further and eventually having to be flattened. But Mr Souter believes
transforming the Egyptian Halls would breathe life into Union Street and start the
regeneration of the area.

He said: “The Halls are a massive part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage but have
been allowed to atrophy and decline. What do you do with a culturally iconic
building if it cannot be repaired because it has been allowed to deteriorate to
such an extent? The signs for the winter to come are for a severe one and this
will do nothing but increase the physical challenges the Egyptian Halls are facing.”

John Addison, who is consulting structural and conservation engineer to the
Egyptian Halls, project also believes the building should be saved. His other
projects include the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, Cottier Theatre, Gartnavel
Hospital Royal Chapel and the Trades House Of Glasgow.

He said of the Egyptian Halls: “This place is special on a world stage and worthy
of support from every direction. Its’ Category A historic status means it is a
cultural asset for all society for all time – and that is running out.”

Historic Scotland insists it will not be able to provide any more than the £1.5m it
has already pledged towards the renovation work. Martin Fairley, Historic Scotland’s
head of investments and projects, said: “We have offered three times the usual
award maximum to assist in the repair of Egyptian Halls. We are incredibly
supportive of the efforts to save this important building, but have to be realistic
about what Historic Scotland can provide in this commercial project.”




James H
norrie

Hi james I wondered at the lack of progress on this building
Not finishing and leaving it to rot is madness
What building could they put in its place
I cant even get a decent shot of it because of the screen and scaffolding

Bye for now, norrie
allanphillips

Egyptian Halls, Union St.

Following a pub discussion where it was pointed out that the council had lodged a demolition order for the building I had a search on Google and found the following.

http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/NR/rdon...6-513BE3DFFAB7/0/Advert042911.pdf


ps. I had a search about for a thread on the halls but couldn't see one, if there is mod's feel free to relocate this.
Stuball

Re: Egyptian Halls, Union St.

allanphillips wrote:

ps. I had a search about for a thread on the halls but couldn't see one, if there is mod's feel free to relocate this.


It be done
norrie

Vandals
discominer

I've several other words Norrie...
Alex Glass

Re: Egyptian Halls, Union St.

allanphillips wrote:
Following a pub discussion where it was pointed out that the council had lodged a demolition order for the building I had a search on Google and found the following.

http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/NR/rdon...6-513BE3DFFAB7/0/Advert042911.pdf


ps. I had a search about for a thread on the halls but couldn't see one, if there is mod's feel free to relocate this.


The Council are not responsible for the application it is the owner who has submitted an application for demolition. The notice you have posted is the Council advertising the fact that an application has been made so that people can object if they have planning grounds.
sputnik

credit where its due alex for your reply\well pointed out.
norrie

Hi Alex, I am sure we realise that the council is not directly responsible but they do have the power to veto this???
This is not some concrete 60s new build its ,Greek Thomson, do these developers even know who he is and what he is to Glasgow
Alex, you tell them, find the cash to save the building
Alex Glass

Without going into too much detail all I can say is that the point has been well made.
norrie

Hi Alex, we knew that the council would fight the good fight
Too much of Glasgow has vanished, it wasnt all that bad, it had to be demolished
James

MSP takes fight to save city landmark to Holyrood (© Evening Times)



A campaign to save a historic Glasgow building from demolition has reached the
Scottish Parliament.


Green MSP Patrick Harvie has lodged a motion calling on Glasgow City Council to protect
the Grade A listed Egyptian Halls after the owner of the Alexander “Greek” Thomson
building applied for planning permission to demolish it.

The motion calls on the council to refuse the application and back plans to transform
the building into a hotel. Owner Derek Souter, boss of Union Street Properties, says
he has no option but to have the property knocked down because renovation costs
have risen to £20millon.

The halls have been described by Neil Baxter, secretary of the Royal Incorporation
of Architects in Scotland, as “the finest surviving example of an Alexander Thomson
commercial building”.

Mr Harvie said: “This magnificent building has been empty for too long, but that
is no excuse for demolition. Thomson has left a legacy to Glasgow at least as
influential as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s and we owe the Alexander Thomson Society
a debt of gratitude for their tireless work to protect this legacy. Glasgow City Council
must reject this application to demolish the Egyptian Halls and must redouble efforts
to work with the owners to ensure the property is not just kept standing and derelict
but is instead fully and sensitively restored.”

Campaigns to protect the Egyptian Halls and other Thomson buildings in Glasgow have
been led by the Alexander Thomson Society. The building, opposite the side entrance
to Central Station, is regarded as one of the finest in Glasgow. However it has been
lying empty for around 30 years and is in poor condition.

Mr Souter wanted to restore it to its former glory and create a 250- bedroom hotel
along with 200 jobs. He believes it would help spark the regeneration of the area
bringing in millions of pounds of investment. Union Street Properties and sister company
Union Street Investments have so far spent £5million on the project and Mr Souter says
they are willing to invest a further £12m.

The city council agreed a £1m grant and Historic Scotland a grant of around £1.65m
but Mr Souter says he needs the Scottish Government to provide an extra £2.35m.
Historic Scotland insists it will not be able to provide the project with any more cash.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sav...ian-Halls/195086167193950?sk=info


James H
ccoolc353

keep us updated.
dickyhart

if the egyptian halls had something to do with Charles Rennie Macintosh, there would be millions getting chucked at it to save it.

Glasgow seems to favour Macintosh who in my opinion is vastly overated. Just about everthing Thomson has dessigned for glasgow seems to be in a state of disrepair or simply neglected.
James

dickyhart wrote:
if the egyptian halls had something to do with Charles Rennie Macintosh, there would be millions getting chucked at it to save it.

Glasgow seems to favour Macintosh who in my opinion is vastly overated. Just about everthing Thomson has designed for glasgow seems to be in a state of disrepair or simply neglected.

Or gone altogether....



James H
cybers

Ah but gentlemen yi forget Thompson built on so much prime development land much sought after by the purveyors of glass and aluminium crap if he had built somewhere like say East Kilbride it would all be lovely but he decided to "buld hunners in the toon" so i fear its card is already pre destined for the wrecking ball  
norrie

Hi Cybers, I do hope your fears come to nothing
Imagine the Egyptian Building demolished, what the heck could they design to fill the void and compliment the Unioin st area
womble

norrie wrote:
Hi Cybers, I do hope your fears come to nothing
Imagine the Egyptian Building demolished, what the heck could they design to fill the void and compliment the Unioin st area


Probably a blob of concrete and steel structure (look at the EveningTimes building & Tesco bank buildings)

IF it was up to me any new buildings in the city centre would have to have their frontages designed to compliment the existing buildings even if that required statues, gargoyles etc. for example the old stock exchange is full of lovely carvings then across the road is the Clydesdale bank looking totally out off place being very modernistic (plain).
Or do as they have done with the Great Eastern hotel and the old G.P.O. in George Sq. keep the existing frontage and build the modern building inside it.
cybers

That vicious wee self centred man that owns it already said he wants it gone its worth more as a blank canvas. and that there summed up the whole argument ... either the council allows the demolition or he will allow it to fall down of its own accord is the way i read it ....

Fire engines on standby i think  
mojocvh

Terrible news.

Mo.
James

Save The Egyptian Halls

Petition Signature Day
Saturday, June 25 2011, 9am - 12.30pm
96 Union Street, Glasgow





James H
norrie

Just back from Spain yesterday or I would have signed
Can I do it on line?
James

£20m hotel that could revive city (© Evening Times)



PROPOSALS to transform of Glasgow's most famous buildings have finally been revealed.


Ambitious plans have been unveiled to transform one of Glasgow's most celebrated
buildings into a 114-bedroom hotel in Union Street. The proposals will convert the
upper three floors of the Grade A listed Egyptian Halls, built by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson,
into a 3-star hotel.

A two-storey rooftop extension will be created for the hotel giving spectacular views
across the city. The ground floor and basement of the building will house a combination
of bars, restaurants and retail units, across four units. Significant mezzanine space will
be created on the lower floors revealing the original Thomson ceilings and cornicing, which
have been hidden for 60 years.

Owners, USP Ltd and USI Ltd, say the project has the potential to create up to 200 jobs,
around 30 apprenticeships and deliver up to £350,000 in business rates annually for the
public purse. Accor Hotels has been named as the hotel franchise and is expected to opt for
the mid-range IBIS or Mercure brand, managed by hotel operators Longrose Buccleuch.

The plans are being billed as the "last throw of the dice" for the building, which has been
empty for 32 years and was earmaked for demolition in 2011 because of funding shortages for
a previous restoration plan. Thousands backed a campaign and petition to save the halls from
the axe. Owners say the proposals will result in almost the "complete preservation" of the halls.
A planning application was lodged yesterday with Glagow City Council, for the hotel and listed
building consent.

The building is widely recognised as 'Greek' Thomson's finest commercial building. However funding
for the project could, once more, prove a stumbling block. Funding is secure for the hotel however
there is a deficit of around £11.4m to refurbish the ground floor, which the owners say will
rely on "substantial public subsidy".

Glasgow City Council previously agreed a £1m grant but say there is "no funding" available at
present, although it is supportive of the hotel plan. Historic Scotland has previously confirmed a
grant of £1.65m. However the owners, who have invested £6.2m since 1998, are confident grant
funding can be secured if planning permission is approved and say the deficit can be reduced
to £4.5m through public and private sector collaboration and business rates revenue.

Derek Souter, of USP Ltd, said: "I'm delighted that an application for the 100% preservation of
the Egyptian Halls has now been lodged with Glasgow City Council. The combined short, medium
and long-term regeneration benefits are acknowledged by all, as the additional £350,000 business
rates per year the project generates. The Scottish Government has approved the principle of
innovative Tax Increment Financing funding for the Buchanan quarter. This is conditional upon
Glasgow City Council ensuring that this investment does not occur at the expense of other city
centre areas."

Retail letting experts involved in the project say interest in the ground floor units is "building
strongly" given the significant commuter, tourist and public footfall in the area, and the hotel
plan. It is hoped the restoration project will act as a catalyst for the "long overdue" regeneration of
Union Street, which property analysts say is having a negative impact on the city centre as
a whole.

Drew Oswald, senior partner at Knight Frank Scotland, said: "We have been valuing property
in Union Street for well over 20 years and the character of the street has changed dramatically over
that period. Over the past decade many retailers have relocated away from once major thoroughfares
like Union Street, this has an ultimate cost to be borne."

Richard Heggie, planning consultant of TPS Planning, said: "This is without doubt the strongest case
that can be made to both preserve this architectural masterpiece and also generate the sustainable
economic growth which is an overarching Scottish Government objective."

A council spokesman said: "Planning applications have been submitted for conversion into a hotel
with an accompanying application for listed building consent."







James H
norrie

Hi James73, I do hope this plan comes off, I am waiting to photograph that part of Union st without any scaffold on the India Building
Stuball

Is it that time of year again? It's like the proposed development of Polphail... reported in the media at least once a year but never actually happens
Hawick_1987

norrie wrote:
Hi James73, I do hope this plan comes off, I am waiting to photograph that part of Union st without any scaffold on the India Building


Here's me thinking that was just part of the building as well Norrie!!! The length of time it has been there is unreal  
Fjord

james73 wrote:






James H



Prime candidate for first prize at The Worst Artists Impression Awards 2012  FFS check out the phantom bus, traffic lights and the bloke carrying a clapped out cooker/ fridge, the heidless pensioner, not to mention the zombies freaking out at the windows! BRILLIANT  
katimac

Fjord wrote:

Prime candidate for first prize at The Worst Artists Impression Awards 2012  FFS check out the phantom bus, traffic lights and the bloke carrying a clapped out cooker/ fridge, the heidless pensioner, not to mention the zombies freaking out at the windows! BRILLIANT  


First thing I noticed was the 'heidless pensioner'  
Fjord

Aye, those details are easily missed as the toons full of them thses days
norrie

Hi Fjord, never noticed those things  but now you have pointed them out
James

Boost for historic Halls as £20m hotel a step nearer (© Evening Times)



Plans to convert one of Glasgow's historic listed buildings into a £20million hotel
have taken a step forward.


The owners of the A-listed Egyptian Halls in Union Street have been granted Listed
Building Consent by the Scottish Government agency Historic Scotland. And Accor
Hotels has revised its proposals to create a four-star venue for the city centre, rather
than the three-star originally planned.

Derek Souter, of owner USP Ltd's Egyptian Halls Project, said: "This reappraisal, which
we had always pushed for, vindicates our long-held belief that Union Street has
significant development potential. According to Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, there
is a need for an extra 17,000 hotel, guest house and bed-and-breakfast bedrooms in
the city and surrounding area. So once the ground floor is funded, we can also begin to
confirm other interested leisure developers whose plans are on hold while we look for
extra funding."

The Evening Times reported last August on the plans to convert the Alexander 'Greek'
Thomson building into a 114-room three-star hotel. The building has lain empty for 33
years, coming under threat of demolition in 2011. However, a public campaign, backed
by thousands of people, helped save the Halls.

Franchise Accor Hotels, managed by hotel operator Longrose Buccleuch, had initially
planned to convert the building to a mid-range IBIS or Mercure hotel. But now it wants
to transform it into one of its upmarket M Hotels, making it one of only 45 worldwide.

Steve Wright, of Accor Hotels, said: "As planning has now been approved we can see
the development becoming a very desirable location within Glasgow. Accor thinks
the Egyptian Halls would make a perfect M Gallery."

Planning permission was granted last December. Funding for the hotel is secure but a
further £10m is needed to refurbish the ground floor level of the Halls. The owner said
the lower level upgrade would rely on "substantial public subsidy", but Glasgow City
Council said no funding was currently available. However, it said the only remaining
obstacle to beginning the refurbishment is agreeing public and private sector funding.
Mr Souter said talks were under way and should be concluded in the next two months.
Richard Heggie, planning consultant of TPS Planning, which is also involved in the scheme,
said: "This is evidence Glasgow City Council's new and embryonic city centre strategy
is beginning to work effectively."


James H
norrie

Hi james73, lets hope this finally comes to fruition, I have been waiting for years to get a shot of this building
cybers

Bout time though the owner should be shot for letting it get into its current state of disrepair. Thought the fecker was playing for the firebug card the way it was getting left to rack and ruin.
norrie

Hi Cybers, what a cynic you are  as if that would happen, surprised myself
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