Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee today (2 March) approved an initial £660,000 grant agreement with the Scottish Events Campus Limited (SEC) to support the redevelopment of the pedestrian and cyclist bridge between the SEC and Finnieston.
This district will see investment of £114million from the Glasgow City Region City Deal alone, and will connect economic drivers in the area such as the University of Glasgow, the SEC, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, and the digital media quarter at Pacific Quay, and develop vacant sites close to the river Clyde.
A key element of the strategy is to maximise the contribution of economic drivers such as the SEC and Pacific Quay by improving site specific infrastructure and enhancing connectivity to neighbouring neighbourhoods such as Finnieston.
Today's council decision was for one of these sites: the bridge between the SEC and Finnieston. It is now around 30 years old, and is a key connection between the SEC, Finnieston, Pacific Quay and the Exhibition Centre rail station. While the bridge is structurally sound, the canopy is nearing the end of its life cycle and its appearance and effectiveness could be improved.
Glasgow City Region City Deal funding will be used to improve the quality of the pedestrian and cycle route and create a gateway that showcases the SEC as a world-class events and conference venue.
Glasgow City Council will provide a grant - through the Glasgow City Region City Deal - to cover the estimated £5million cost of the project. The initial £660,000 grant agreement will meet the costs of a multi-disciplinary design team that will oversee feasibility studies, design development and contractor procurement.
Once this final stage has been completed, the SEC will procure a works contract to deliver the project, and a report will be submitted to the council's Executive Committee seeking to award the contract (also requiring approval for the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet) and the release of the remaining £4.3million funding.
The bridge - a statutory core path - is currently under a long-term lease to the SEC.
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "The SEC and its surrounding areas are key drivers of our economy. The redevelopment of this bridge highlights our commitment to further develop the West End and Waterfront. The sky is the limit for these areas and I am delighted that the Glasgow City Region City Deal is contributing to them achieving their full potential."
Peter Duthie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Event Campus, said: "First impressions are very important and with a new brand, a world class arena and countless incredible events coming on site it is important that our campus facilities are up to scratch. In many cases the covered walkway or 'Smartie Tube' is the first thing visitors experience when coming to the Scottish Event Campus and so we are delighted with the news that it is to be upgraded."
An estimated economic impact of £354million was generated by the SECC in the 2015-16 financial year.
Both the UK and Scottish Governments will give the Glasgow and the seven neighbouring local authorities in the Clyde Valley £500million in grant funding for the City Deal, and the local authorities will borrow a further £130million to use for capital investment.
The Glasgow City Region City Deal is expected to give Glasgow and Clyde Valley a permanent uplift in its GVA of £2.2billion per annum (4.4%); generate 15,000 construction jobs during the construction period and 28,000 permanent additional jobs once construction is complete; and will in turn unlock £3.3billion of investment from the private sector.
The eight local authorities participating in the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal are: East Dunbartonshire Council; East Renfrewshire Council; Glasgow City Council; Inverclyde Council; North Lanarkshire Council; Renfrewshire Council; South Lanarkshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Council.