Heading for the top

03 May 2007

Evening Times, by Ross McKinnon

A City businessman is favourite to front a new restaurant and bar in the Finnieston Crane.

Alan Tomkins, owner of gourmet eateries Gamba in the city centre and Urban Grill in Shawlands, has emerged as the operator crane owner Clydeport wants to run the business.

Euan Jamieson of Clydeport says the entrepreneur is already working as a consultant on the riverfront venture.

And he says Mr Tomkins' proven track record in Glasgow makes him the ideal choice.

Mr Jamieson also revealed more details about the proposal, first reported exclusively in the Evening Times last September.

If given the go-ahead the development will create a 100-cover restaurant, 200-capacity bar and a function suite - all to be built over three or four floors within the crane's tower.

A public viewing gallery on top of the 185ft structure - giving panoramic views of the River Clyde - is also planned along with a 20,000 sq ft office block next to the crane Mr Jamieson said: "We have had Alan Tomkins involved from the start of this project. Clydeport wanted the venture to be commercially sustainable so we sought the input of leisure operators - and Alan has a proven track record in Glasgow."

Mr Tomkins opened his first business, Lautrec's Wine Bar & Brasserie, in 1982, and is the owner of Papingo in Bath Street, Vroni's Wine Bar in West Nile Street and Urban Grill which he runs along with Derek Marshall, his head chef at Gamba in West George Street.

Mr Jamieson said Clydeport was in discussions with Mr Tomkins to "lease" the restaurant, bar and function room while the viewing gallery would be operated separately.

He said: "We looked at housing the restaurant and bar in the jib (152 ft-long horizontal part of the crane) at the top, but because of the physical structure this won't now be possible.

"What is feasible is to put the restaurant and bar in the tower structure of the crane - over three or four floors.

"And we want to put in a public viewing gallery which could be in the jib.

"I'd like to emphasise that this is an evolving project and still in the early stages.

"There is a lot of work to do to realise the venture and it's a difficult path to walk."

Mr Tomkins was not available for comment.

  • Finnieston Crane at night with SECC

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