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HERALD SCOTLAND. Weds 12th January 2011
Wed 12th Jan 11 - 15:26

"A touch of Dubai glamour for Clyde"

It promises to bring a touch of glamour to the heart of Scotland's biggest city and transform its waterfront into an international tourist destination.

The world's first man-made floating leisure village is to be built in Glasgow as part of a £30 million development housing a marina, shops, restaurants and roof-top concert arena.

The canting basin in Govan, the area of Prince's Dock where ships used to turn, will be turned into what some see as the city's answer to the Palm in Dubai, which offers a one-of-a-kind tourist spot on a purpose-built island.

Residents in new studio flats and townhouses will be able to dock their boats at private moorings and "pool" boats will be offered for offices to encourage employees to use the river for getting to and from work and for recreational activities.

Floating Concepts, which is behind the proposals, yesterday unveiled artists' impressions of the finished site after being given the go-ahead by Scottish Enterprise some 18 months after the development first went out to tender.

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.

"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."

Scottish Enterprise first put the development, which covers five hectares of water, 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 specialise in property developments on water, plans to create a new canal with a floating street that 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 a further 150 berths for residents and visitors.

Up to 450 jobs will be created by the attraction, which borders the Science Centre and Imax cinema on the south side of the River Clyde and has been designed by Glasgow-based ZM Architecture and specialist water-based architects Baca Limited of London.

Mr Beard, who was part of a syndicate of investors who led the early regeneration of Liverpool South Docks, said: "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 development will benefit from the existing footfall generated by the Glasgow Science Museum and Imax cinema and will reinforce and expand the existing leisure and recreational offer there.

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

Floating Concepts, which gives 5% of profits it makes from any projects to the local community, is expected to begin talks with Glasgow City Council before it submits an outline planning application for the proposals.

Designers who have previously created floating structures in Holland and Scandinavia are expected to be recruited to help with the building and the developers hope to be able to begin work in the middle of next year. The regeneration is expected to take up to three years to complete.

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