Smaller contractors may get a crack at building Glasgow’s first six star hotel after the city’s council wielded powers to get rid of flat owners standing in the way of the scheme.
At a meeting last week, the council’s executive committee agreed to a compulsory purchase order to remove owners of properties on the site at the corner of Argyle Street and Robertson Street in the city centre.
The move will allow developer Progress Property to turn the site into a £125 million 26-storey hotel plus a neighbouring 12-storey serviced apartment block designed by Manchester’s Ian Simpson Architects.
Four remaining property owners on the site had agreed to sell to the developer but could not agree a price, despite offers significantly above independent valuations prepared for them.
It is hoped that an agreement can now be reached without implementing the CPO powers.
Progress Property is expected to appoint a hotel operator for the scheme in the next few weeks, opening the way for building work to start later this year.
Progress Property’s managing director Charles Price said that, despite the overall project cost, it is possible he would look outside the major players of the Glasgow construction market for the contractor for the scheme.
He added: “There is a lot of construction work going on in Scotland so we have to be careful about capacity.
“If we split it into packages we could allow firms from outside the big four or five contractors to bid.
“We are looking at nominated packages for specialist elements such as the demolition, excavation, the frame and cladding, as well as the use of modular construction for things like the bathrooms.
“If we could sort that out the main contract would just involve general work such as the services and fit-out and could be as low as £20 million.
“That would give one of Scotland’s medium-sized firms a chance to move up. Its a very nice building. I want firms to feel proud to have worked on it.”
He said that he was already in talks with contractors over the first of the major packages for the concrete frame and cladding.
The hotel is expected to take around 18 months to deliver and is planned to open by the first quarter of 2010.