Student housing scheme will hit 34 storeys

Watkins Jones 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 by Hawkins Brown, comprise a 784-bed student accommodation scheme adjacent to the city’s Charing Cross station. 

Screenshot 2023-12-07 115024

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

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. 

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.  

>>See also: The Golden Z: Glasgow’s radical plan to give the high street back to the people 

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.”