Jim Fitzsimons of Capella Group considers the regeneration of the Broomielaw, the role of the IFSD in that vital redevelopment, and the development plans which will shape the future for this important city centre location. This article is based on a talk given at Waterfront Expo Scotland 2011.
With over 1.5m sq ft of new floorspace and 15,000 new jobs,
Glasgow's International Financial Services District has become the
new business quarter for the city. Major new office developments
with large floorplates have led the way. Investment in
infrastructure such as dual resilience broadband, and over £25m in
new public realm and bridge connections have given the area a
vibrant, modern feel.
In the 18th and 19th century Broomielaw Quay was at the heart of
the commercial heart of the success and wealth creation in the
city. From here, boats sailed to all corners of the globe, and
brought back cargoes which made Glasgow one of the most important
trading ports in Europe, earning the city the title of second city
of the empire. However, during the 20th century its importance
gradually diminished and the surrounding area became derelict.
Shaped for finance
In the 1990's Glasgow City Council put together a plan to
redevelop the Broomielaw area. Because of the much larger 'grid'
compared to the rest of the city centre, the area between the
Broomielaw and Argyle Street was ideally suited to accommodate
buildings with large floorplates - just what financial services
companies were often looking for. So in 2001 the IFSD initiative
was created to attract financial services companies to the
To date, over 1.5m ft2 of new floorspace has been built in the
Broomielaw area. It is home to some of the leading financial
services companies such as RBS, Lloyds TSB, Axa, Capgemini, Ace
Insurance and Strathclyde Pension Fund. Recently it has also
attracted other professional services companies such as Macroberts
solicitors and BDO Stoy Hayward and Atkins.
Jobs and growth
Over the first 8 years of the project (and this is as far as the
stats go at the moment) the IFSD has created over 15,000 jobs in
Financial & Business services.
It has had a direct impact on development in the City and can be
attributed to the successful development of over 2m sq ft of new
The total investment by occupiers, developers and service
providers such as BT and in public realm works is £1bn
And the importance of the financial services sector to Glasgow is
borne out in these figures: out of 52,000 business services
jobs, 26,000 are in financial services, 30% of Scotland's
jobs in the sector.
Future for the city
The IFSD has been identified as one of Scotland's 5 key growth
opportunities. A recent study (by the Cambridge Institute)
estimates growth in the UK in the sector of 3% over the next 5
years and 3.5% over the following 5 years. Assuming Glasgow grabs a
share based solely on its existing base, it shows the opportunity
to attract a further 8,000 - 9,000 jobs over the next decade.
Measuring the impact
To appreciate the significance of IFSD to developers, I looked
at the 4 new office buildings which I have been involved in
building over the past 10 years: Equinox in Cadogan St, 4&5
Atlantic Quay, and the Capella building.
Of the space let, 79% has been let to Financial services
The construction work for the 4 buildings involved almost 1000
people and created the equivalent of 180 full time jobs over 2
years. When you consider that the norm in the city is to have at
least 5 new-builds under construction in any 2 year period, you can
see the impact that construction has on employment, and hence the
need to see initiatives which encourage development to take
A number of important proposals are in the pipeline. Our own
Atlantic Square scheme has planning consent for 225,00 sq ft of
space including proposals for a new covered courtyard.
Last month, Marlebone
received planning consent for 295,000 sq ft of offices, retail and
apartments, and further along on the other side of the Kingston
Bridge at Central Quay, Goodmans have produced
a new masterplan for up to 500k sq ft of offices.
And again emphasising how the area is developing in a wider
context, we have just received planning consent for series of
pavilions along the waterfront for up to 8 bars and restaurants
which will create a major new leisure destination for workers,
visitors and Glasgow's residents.
Alongside these major developments, improvements to infrastructure
continue. The Scottish Government recently announced a £40m package
to help create the new Fastlink bus route between the city
centre and the SECC exhibition facility which will run on dedicated
lanes through the Broomielaw area.
So we see how an area once associated with the commercial success
of the city is once again becoming an area which is at the heart of
the City's thriving business community and in the future, will
provide a much improved leisure offering for workers, residents and