Property

Glasgow apartment block learns a lesson or two from its scholarly old neighbour

By Ellen Thomson at

A pioneering housing scheme that mixes the old with the new has begun its final phase.

Spectrum Homes has been redeveloping the former Shakespeare Street Public School site in Glasgow.

The scheme is a blend of refurbished former Edwardian school building and two new apartment buildings.

Work on one of those buildings – the third and final phase of the scheme – is now under way following lockdown.

Shakespeare Street

The former Shakespeare Street Public School development.

All 24 apartments in the converted former school building that dates from 1915 have been sold.

A second phase tenement-style building already completed and the final phase will add 56 flats.

The scheme has created residents’ gardens in the former school’s playground.

It is said the development will help ease housing shortages in a district which is close to the Botanics and the West End.

‘Remarkable building’

Bill Roddie, director of family-owned Spectrum Properties, said: “The old school at Shakespeare Street is a remarkable building which maximised natural light for its pupils with two-and-a-half storey windows.

“We are pleased not only to have preserved it but also to have mirrored its architectural qualities and tall windows in the new buildings while remaining in keeping with the surrounding built environment.”

Spectrum has previously converted Hillhead High School in Cecil Street, the former Hydepark Public School in Springburn and Shettleston Public Baths.

Shakespeare Street

The third and final phase of the development is under way after lockdown.

It has used advanced preservation and restoration techniques such as façade retention.

It also converted art collector and city benefactor Sir William Burrell’s Great Western Road mansion and is currently engaged in the retention and development of the former Golfhill School near Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The company also owns some 700 commercial properties across the city, comprising 70% of its group holdings.

Mr Roddie said: “Buildings from the past century can sometimes fall through the net in the city’s estate and become prey to dilapidation, vandalism and water penetration.

‘Cash-strapped’

“With the best will in the world, sometimes cash-strapped councils just do not have the resources to make the most of them.

“This is where outside contractors who have specialist skills – especially, like us, in brownfield and listed buildings – can make a contribution and give these important properties a whole new lease of life.”

Spectrum Properties directly employs 75 people and the same number of sub-contractors.

It is actively recruiting to cope with rapid expansion. Established by Mr Roddie in 1988, the company now has a portfolio valuation of £60 million and a turnover in excess of £5 million.