Glasgow department store to be transformed into office space with rooftop bar

GLASGOW’s former Debenhams store on Argyle Street is set to be turned into offices with a rooftop restaurant after plans were given the green light.

Glasgow City Council planners have granted permission for a change of use which developers hope will safeguard the building’s future.

The project includes a rooftop restaurant with views of the city skyline and Argyle Street below, as well as rooftop meeting space for office occupants.

Previously Lewis’s Department Store, the B-listed building is being redeveloped as part of the first phase of a wider £50m masterplan for St Enoch Centre, which includes 1,700 new homes and a four-star hotel . A planning application for the entire project is currently being reviewed by council.

Plans submitted to council stated: “The Debenhams building is a very important part of Glasgow and has long been at the heart of the city’s thriving commercial environment. Unfortunately, the decline of the department store market dictates that maintaining retail on upper floors is not viable.

“We are maintaining an active commercial presence on the ground floor and are sensitively renovating the upper building to restore it to active use and give it a renewed purpose and identity to safeguard its future.”

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Sovereign Centros, acting as asset manager for claimant St Enoch Trustee Company, previously said the Debenhams building was intended for “efficient working space which would be attractive to businesses looking for a flexible location and central”. The company said it would seek a new occupant as soon as possible.

The National:

The site was used by Debenhams from the early 1990s until it closed early last year.

“Due to changes in retail trends and patterns across the country and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is considered that there are no suitable retail operators needing hosting on this scale,” the app says.

“As a result, a number of possible alternative uses have been investigated for the now vacant floors, culminating in the current proposals to repurpose the building to provide a new Grade ‘A’ office development, which will provide a rare opportunity to activate this part of the town centre, and which will act as a catalyst for major regeneration extending east along Argyle Street.

Plans have revealed there will be three lifts to roof level, which will have a “dedicated outdoor dining terrace with views over Glasgow”. They added: “The scale and quality of development afforded by the building’s elegant facades and generous floor area are significant, as they provide the opportunity to secure a large-scale occupier, foreign investor or prospective occupier of the public sector.