06 Sep 2019
Odd though it may sound to say so in the current political circumstances, it has been a pretty good last week or so for Glasgow. Two milestones were reached which say something about both the diversity of the city’s economy and the prospects for its continuing growth.
First was the official construction start on site for the new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) in Renfrewshire. There has been a view, which the Chamber shares, that whilst the shift in the balance of our economy from manufacturing to services may have been inevitable, that shift went too far. We have a very proud engineering tradition and we remain a city packed full of professional engineers. AMID is a very powerful vision of the steps we can take to refresh our manufacturing role.
Based next to the Airport, work began last week on Renfrewshire Council’s project under City Deal to prepare the land for the vision laid out for Scotland’s prime location for advanced manufacturing. The University of Strathclyde and its Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald have been the inspiration for the Council’s plan with support from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government. It has already been confirmed as the location for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. Westway and Babcock Doosan are next door. Rolls Royce and the Advanced Forming Research Centre are nearby in Inchinnan. Above all though, the aim is to attract as many as 6,000 new jobs in manufacturing research and development from private companies all around the world. A successful AMID would be a clear signal that Glasgow’s proud history of manufacturing skill is very much alive and well.
Next up was the approval given by Glasgow City Council for Osborne Co’s plans for new offices on Argyle Street. The city is in dire need of new Grade A office space as the last cycle of investment has been very nearly taken up. So the Council’s approval is a very welcome step in maintaining Glasgow’s status as one of Europe’s top 15 financial cities. The site is also one of the most prominent derelict properties remaining in the International Financial Services District right next door to the Radisson Blu. The buildings, long in a poor condition, undoubtedly diminish the impression of a successful district.
Together with a growing collection of investments including Drum Property’s Tradeston development for Barclays, the Clydesdale Bank’s new HQ on Bothwell Street and the BAM/Taylor Clark Atlantic Square project for the Government Property Unit, Osborne’s plan will take the IFSD to a new level and help achieve the original aspirations for the district. Glasgow has an unusually large and successful financial services sector for a city of our size and the City Council’s decision will help consolidate that achievement.