Plans for a tech hub at Glasgow's iconic Met Tower scrapped

A view of a building in Glasgow city centre with a large banner on the side with the words 'People Make Glasgow'
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Plans to redevelop Glasgow's Met Tower into a major digital hub have been scrapped, with the developer citing economic concerns.

Tech-focused property development company Bruntwood SciTech had been planning to create a 113,000 sq ft workspace for digital businesses in the 14-storey former College of Building and Printing tower.

The plan was to offer serviced offices for between two and 40 people, along with a larger leased office space. The development would also have included multiple meeting rooms, with a 16-person boardroom, flexible breakout spaces, a wellness and treatment room, a cafe, and a multi-faith room.

However, Bruntwood SciTech has now pulled the plug on the scheme, saying that owing to inflation and high interest rates, the current economic climate and construction market have made it unviable, as reported by the Glasgow Times.

A spokesperson for the developer said: "Like any responsible developer, we have to be flexible and respond to changing circumstances, which means accepting our original vision for the building to create an office workspace is not feasible in the current climate. It is a difficult decision and one we have not taken lightly."

"We recognise the iconic position of this building, the opportunity it provides for the city, and the need for it to be brought back to life as soon as possible. We are grateful to all those who have supported us with the planning to date and are working with us to look at all the available options for Met Tower’s future."

The firm acquired the site from property developer Osborne+Co, which had planned to turn it into a 260-room hotel with office and retail space, for £16.2 million in 2022. It had been empty since 2014.

In total, the project was expected to cost £60 million, including the creation of a new ten-storey, 95,000 sq ft building for SMEs behind the original tower.

Work on the site began last year, with refurbishment of the Met Tower itself scheduled to begin this spring. The building was due to be completed next year.

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney described the decision to scrap the plans as 'dismaying', and said he was offering to do all that he could to help repurpose the building.

"I think they are eager to move forward with some form of redevelopment as soon as possible, as they are losing money on it the longer it sits not earning any rental return," he said. "They aren't able to make the large volume rooms and public spaces stack up financially as lab/work spaces."

He added that the building is category B-listed and in the Central Conservation Area, so that demolition is unlikely. However, the future of the building is now uncertain.

"While it is disappointing that the proposed Met Tower project will not now take place to join the series of recently completed developments in the city centre, we will be working with partners with a view to do all that we can to help deliver a sustainable redevelopment of the building and site as quickly as possible," said a Glasgow City Council spokesperson.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.