GLASGOW’S Met Tower – a 14-storey office building in the heart of the city centre that’s been vacant since 2014 – is set to become a new hub for tech and digital businesses.
A £30m transformation programme has been unveiled by Bruntwood SciTech after it acquired the ‘People Make Glasgow’ building from Osborne+Co for £16.2m.
Bruntwood SciTech, a joint venture between investor and developer Bruntwood and Legal & General, is the UK’s leading property and innovation services provider dedicated to driving the growth of the science and technology sector.
Its plans for the Grade B listed, old City of Glasgow College building, will transform it into a hub where university spinouts, startups, scaleups, and large leading tech businesses can co-locate together and benefit from being in an innovative, collaborative tech cluster. It is intended that Met Tower will be net zero in operation following a transformation project that will retain as much of its existing fabric as possible, significantly reducing the embedded carbon impact of the re-development.
Businesses based at Met Tower will be able to access Bruntwood SciTech’s UK-wide network of innovation districts, allowing them to collaborate with a 500-strong specialist community of tech and science businesses, and will be provided with their specialist Innovation Services support which includes access to highly skilled STEM talent, new markets, funding and finance support and professional services advice.
Offering 113,000 sq ft of coworking, serviced and leased office space, Bruntwood SciTech will also be creating a shared breakout space on the ground floor, showers, lockers, secure cycle store and sports kit drying room, as well as a rooftop lounge to be used by its future community. It will also offer a cafe and other food & beverage amenities.
Work is expected to start later this year, subject to planning, and complete in 2024.
Kate Lawlor, chief executive of Bruntwood SciTech, said: “Glasgow has one of Europe’s most exciting, diverse tech and digital clusters with exceptional higher education institutions and clinical assets. Met Tower is perfectly placed to help create a hub in which these businesses can scale, co-innovate and thrive.
“Met Tower is a Glasgow landmark in a brilliant location for innovative tech and digital businesses. Not only is it in the heart of the city centre on the doorstep of Queen Street station and a short walk from Central station, its immediate proximity to The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and the City of Glasgow College, who we’re very keen to work more closely with, will provide a huge pool of exceptional talent to draw upon.
“Glasgow’s science and tech sector is rapidly growing, having seen some of the highest growth in the whole of the UK in the past two years, and now makes up 28% of all jobs in the city. As a result it has retained its position in the top three leading tech cities in the UK outside of London. Our investment in Glasgow is for the long term, and as we’ve demonstrated in our other cities, we are committed to becoming embedded and driving forwards the growth of the knowledge economy and economic impact of the sector both in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland. This is our first in hopefully several brilliant projects in the country.”
Bruntwood SciTech’s expansion into Scotland signals its commitment to developing specialist ecosystems to support the growth of the UK science and tech sector, and the creation of over 40,000 high value jobs over the next 10 years. Glasgow joins Bruntwood SciTech’s network of innovation districts that includes locations in Birmingham, Cambridge, Greater Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool. As the Met Tower project develops, Bruntwood SciTech will be looking to recruit a locally based team in Glasgow.
Bruntwood SciTech’s commitment to Glasgow mirrors that of its shareholder Legal & General who has also identified the city as a key opportunity to invest and support Levelling Up. It has already forward funded 324 build to rent apartments within Glasgow’s new Buchanan Wharf waterside regeneration arvea and a new 187,000 sq ft hub for the UK civil service at Atlantic Square, Argyll St.
Plans for Met Tower’s adjacent development site are being reviewed and are yet to be finalised.
OakNorth Bank has supported Bruntwood SciTech with the acquisition of Met Tower through the provision of an £8.6m acquisition loan and an agreement to provide up to £27m of additional funding to support the subsequent redevelopment of the building. Ryden, Brodies and Addleshaw Goddard advised Bruntwood SciTech and Pinsents advised OakNorth on the transaction. Savills and DLA represented Osborne+Co.