Current Primary Stakeholders’ Positions; GCC, HES, USP, USI
“There are some complex issues around Egyptian Halls. Solving those issues will need some creative solutions. It needs creative approaches to design and engineering, but also creative approaches to funding. It also needs a commitment from all involved to continue to discuss and test a wide range of options.”
“Our position on the future of the Egyptian Halls remains the same: we await proposals which show an appropriate and sustainable use for this building, which is absolutely a notable part of Glasgow’s built and architectural heritage.”
“USP and USI offer GCC and HES private and confidential, without liability discussions to ensure the Egyptian Halls are preserved and returned to long term commercial sustainability at the least cost to the public purse whilst delivering for the long term investors a commensurate agreed return.”
The past should not influence how we get to a solution. There is a phenomenal potential to be realised. We need to get a balance of commercial funding and grant funding combined with projected valuation and income uplifts if we take a 10, 15, 20, 25 year perspective. And then assess this financial information with the up to date structural position given the Upper Floors have been vacant since 1980, an astonishing 40 years ago and the efforts of the heritage stakeholders.
1) The Egyptian Halls is on the shortlist for Europa Nostra 2020 Most Endangered Award.
2) And does the Museum of Slavery offer the opportunity to Slice this Gordian Knot of non-collaboration and non-viability.
And of course there is now the option of the Museum of Slavery concept, which would deliver significant Tourism/Cultural/ Educational benefits as well as probably unlock non - commercial sources of funding. And which, from Susan Aitken GCC Leader of Administration has found traction reiterating the council's support for either a standalone museum or a permanent exhibition dedicated to slavery and empire.
And let’s also factor in the following:
“The Egyptian Halls and the unique location, continue to give advantages, which are considerably greater than other potential city centre projects.”
Steve Inch Director GCC DRS July 09
“The proposed development is clearly in line with national economic and tourism strategy and, in addition to providing accommodation towards the acknowledged hotel bed space shortage in the City, will contribute employment (160 jobs) and additional non domestic rate (approximately £350,000 per annum); and The development is a critical part of our developing strategy for the refurbishment/upgrading of Union Street.”
GCC’s Economic Convenor Bailie Cameron July 2010
“The Egyptian Halls in Union Street is considered by many to be the greatest architectural achievement of Alexander Greek Thomson and one of the finest buildings in the city.”
Glasgow City Council Report June 2010
“The development of a new city centre strategy will include a comprehensive and collaborative review and specifically a consideration of whether areas like Union Street, should in fact be completely reconfigured.” "We need to find the right sources of funding, and there are various routes.”
Evening Times June 2012
And which certainly reinforce the Cultural, Architectural and Economic Growth importance of the Egyptian Halls. Therefore how can we “Unlock the Sources of Funding” that would deliver this £30M Regeneration and Preservation Project and then the following public gain would accrue.
• The preservation of the world famous Egyptian Halls
• £20M+ Development begins much desired Union Street regeneration
• 175-225 + bedroom, circa 3-4 star hotel on the USI owned Upper Floors
• Bars/Restaurants on USP owned Ground Floor
• 200 jobs - 30+ Modern Apprenticeships
• Deliver an EXTRA £400k Business Rates p.a.
So if GCC, Scot Govt, co-owners and heritage stakeholders all collaborate an extraordinary solution can be facilitated to save an extraordinary building. And a FIFTH and FINAL application can be scoped ASAP.
And the win-win-win for all stakeholders is to preserve and return the Egyptian Halls to long term commercial sustainability whilst being a linchpin project for Union Street’s long overdue Regeneration and perhaps also inclusion in the City Plan £115M Avenues Project.