Fresh hope for Sauchiehall Street and for the creative community at the Savoy Centre | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Fresh hope for Sauchiehall Street and for the creative community at the Savoy Centre

Plans to revitalise the Savoy Centre have been revealed today (05 September 2018) which will provide much-needed support to existing tenants as well as offering new retail opportunities on Glasgow’s Style Mile. 

As a result of the ongoing challenges and disruption to the street following two major fires this year, owner Seymour Holdings Ltd. has pledged to support retailers starting with a phased investment in the centre that will also see the creation of an exciting new retail concept, event and exhibition space.

Plans include the refurbishment of 2250m2 of the ground floor which will produce 18 fresh new affordable retail units, creating opportunities for independent local retailers while also providing a hub for the arts community and creative industries.

The new initiative known as COLAB (Community, Culture Cuisine), has been inspired by similar projects including Market Town Corner in Loughborough and Impact Hub in Stockholm. It aims to put the community back in heart of the city centre while also creating an environment where businesses, existing and new, can grow and support one another. Something which has been popular in Japan through the Machinoeki movement; a friendly space where people can drop by, socialise and share information.

Work is expected to start later this month and be completed ahead of the key Christmas trading period. It will be conducted in phases to minimise disruption to retailers ensuring trading can operate as normal. The COLAB project team will also create a versatile space in the hope of housing exhibitions from Glasgow School of Art students.

To help attract and support fresh talent, new enterprises will have the opportunity to secure affordable space while all tenants will have access to a range of LAB sessions and seminars directed at supporting areas of their business from hospitality training to visual merchandising and social media. 

COLAB will also provide an incubator space for those taking their first steps towards building their brand in the form of accessible space on the high street to directly connect with their customers.

Commenting, Natalia Ray Codona from COLAB, said: “It has been a very challenging year so far for Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street and the centre and we want to help support existing retailers while also creating a new and affordable platform for independent retailers and Scottish creatives.

“As well as working with existing tenants we are keen to reach out to new enterprises, independents and creative start-ups. The affordable new retail units are perfect for collaborations whether that’s in the form of pop ups, a permanent space or immersive exhibition.

“At the heart of the project our ambition is to bring Glasgow’s community and businesses together and offer new experiences in the form of art, culture, retail and performance that they may not have been exposed to before. We want COLAB to benefit as many people as possible from all areas of the community.”

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Stuart Patrick, said: “As we all know, this has been a disastrous year for Sauchiehall Street, and the most famous place name associated with Glasgow has taken a terrible pummelling.

“With that in mind, it’s uplifting to be able to welcome good news for the street – and this imaginative plan for the refurbishment of the Savoy Centre is certainly that. It comes just as the Avenues development is also starting to come together.

“We welcome not only the opportunities and space the new Savoy will provide for independent and start-up businesses, but also the inclusion of the word “community” at a time when the people who work and live on Sauchiehall Street need encouragement and a new beginning.”

The Savoy Centre was established in the 1970s and is owned by Seymour Holdings Ltd. Situated over two levels, the Savoy Centre is home to over 50 retailers, including beauty salons, bakers, an award-winning butcher, bookshop and clothing outlets, cafes and restaurants to name a few.  

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