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GLASGOW EVENING NEWS. Weds 12th January 2011
Wed 12th Jan 11 - 15:33

"Firm floats £30m water village plan"

The world's first man-made floating leisure village is to be built in Glasgow.

A marina, shops, a hotel and roof-top concert arena will spring up on the canting basin, the area where vessels turn around, at Prince's Dock.

It follows Scottish Enterprise awarding a contract for the development to Floating Concepts.

The company unveiled artist's impressions of the finished site, which will also house studio flats and townhouses with private moorings.

There will also be "pool" boats for offices to encourage employees to use the river for getting to and from work and for recreational activities.

Floating Concepts is expected to begin talks with Glasgow City Council before submitting an outline planning application for the £30million proposal and hopes to begin work in the middle of next year.

The regeneration project, on five hectares of water bordering the Science Centre and Imax cinema on the South Side of the river, is expected to take up to three years to complete.

David Beard, chief executive of Floating Concepts, said: "Despite having one of the most impressive river frontages in the UK, Glasgow does not have a prime waterfront destination.

"Our development will change this, enabling Glasgow to join the ranks of the great coastal cities of the world.

"Our development of the canting basin will give the people of Glasgow an opportunity to enjoy the unique experience of coming into close contact with the water and will become a quality centre for eating, drinking, shopping, entertaining and meeting friends, in a contemporary marine environment.

"The floating village will also provide an important link between the Media Quarter, home to BBC Scotland and Scottish Television and spark interest and boost land values for the regeneration of the Govan Docks to the west."

Scottish Enterprise first put the canting basin development, on the area where ships used to turn, out for tender in June 2009 with a vision of creating a "lively active waterspace that is both a draw for tourists and a positive amenity for its businesses and residents".

Floating Concepts, which specialises in property developments on water, plans to create a new canal with a floating street which will be home to two and three-storey office buildings, studio flats and townhouses.

There will also be shops, a hotel, restaurants and an 80-berth marina with 150 berths for residents and visitors.

Mr Beard, who was part of a syndicate of investors who led the early regeneration of Liverpool South Docks, said the Scottish Enterprise plan was a "breakthrough in recognising the potential of ‘blue-field' sites".

Up to 450 jobs will be created by the attraction, which has been designed by Glasgow-based ZM Architecture and specialist water-based architects Baca Limited of London.

Designers who have previously created floating structures in Holland and Scandinavia are expected to be recruited to help with the building.

Mr Beard said: "The very iconic structure of a floating village will turn the canting basin into a major tourism attraction unmatched anywhere else in the world, as well as being a thriving centre for local people and businesses."

Allan McQuade, business infrastructure director at Scottish Enterprise, said: "The floating leisure village proposed by Floating Concepts Limited for the Clyde's canting basin has the potential to become a vibrant waterfront tourism and leisure destination at the heart of Glasgow's Pacific Quay.

"It is an innovative proposal which makes maximum use of the water and we look forward to working with Floating Concepts over the next few years as the project is implemented.

"In addition to the anticipated jobs boost it will bring to Glasgow, the development will become a thriving community for local residents and businesses and will directly support the growing creative industry cluster on the Clyde."

 Big ideas to brighten city

  • An attempt was made in 2002 to boost Glasgow's cafe culture by building a glazed pavilion on John Street in the Merchant City. Although planning permission was granted, the structure was never built.
  • In 2008 city businessman James Mortimer suggested glazing in Buchanan Street to protect shoppers from the rain in an Italian-style covered "galleria" of shops. So far, nothing has happened.
  • Also in 2008, we reported on a scheme to light up Glasgow with giant solar lily pads on the River Clyde. It was thought the floating discs could harness enough power from the sun to boost the city's electricity grid. So far this plan has not been put in place.
  • Two years ago in January 2009 it was suggested that a fleet of modern catamarans could be used to shuttle commuters up and down the Clyde. Although a feasibility study into providing waterbus-style ferries on the river showed a "core demand" for such a service, no more has been heard of this plan.

 To view the original article, please click here.

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