Student housing scheme will hit 34 storeys

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CGI showing the scheme in the context of Elmbank Crescent to the north of the site.

Hawkins Brown has unveiled updated plans for a new residential tower in central Glasgow, which will be the city’s second tallest building when built. 

The developer’s new proposals, designed for Watkin Jones, comprise a 784-bed student accommodation scheme adjacent to the city’s Charing Cross station. 

It will be staggered in form, with a lower shoulder of nine to 11 storeys and a taller element of 34 storeys, which will make it the second tallest building in the city. 

Currently, the site on India Street is occupied by a disused tax office called Portcullis House. 

Plans to redevelop the existing brownfield site with a build-to-rent scheme were unveiled in August 2021 but placed on hold due to a lack of policy or guidance for co-living. 

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Amendments have since been made to the building’s design and form, reducing the scale of its footprint and increasing public realm and landscaping – this reduced size led to the decision to change from build-to-rent to a student housing scheme, as the former would have been too small for institutional forward funding.  

According to Watkins Jones, the so-called Ard development is in line with the city council’s city centre living strategy, which aims to double the city centre population in the next decade and a half.  

The project team also includes Harrison Stevens as landscape architect, as well as engineer Atelier 10. 

Iain Smith, planning director of Watkin Jones, said: “[The scheme] will help to address a chronic undersupply of student accommodation, as well as repopulating the city centre and benefit local businesses as part of an overall renewal of the west end.”