THE developer behind plans to transform a corner of George Square is set to get financial help from the council to “unlock” the project.

Chris Stewart Group (CSG) is currently working on a 245-bed hotel – to be occupied by AC Marriott Hotels – and has plans for hundreds of flats.

A pedestrian lane, known as Love Loan and connecting John Street and North Frederick Street with shops, offices and leisure uses, is also part of the scheme.

But a council report reveals the site brings “a number of challenges” and talks have been held over funding support.

Almost £650,000 will be awarded to CSG if councillors agree to the move. CSG is “committed to a full restoration of the complex and is experienced in delivering high-quality, sustainable outcomes with developments involving significant heritage considerations”, the council report states. “The site however presents a number of challenges with the development appraisal in deficit around the listed buildings and heritage elements of the scheme.”

Around £360,000 is set to be spent on developing the lane, for excavation, levelling, paving and street furniture.

Slightly more than £140,000 will be used on pavement works on North Frederick Street, George Street and John Street under the Avenues project. A further £150,000 could be spent on temporary measures, which are “still to be developed”, to support the planned opening of the hotel next summer.

Some of the funding could also be used on a “still to be defined” plaza, if it is public space.

The report reveals council cash could only be used on public realm works. It adds: “Public sector funding is required to unlock the development of the new pedestrianised Love Loan lane, which will form a key connector between the travel hub around Queen Street Station and the university/innovation quarter.”

The lane development is set for construction between November next year and March 2023. It will continue to be owned and maintained by CSG. Named as preferred developer by the council in 2015, CSG is developing former council buildings to the north east of George Square.

There will be the hotel and 168 build-to-rent apartments on Martha Street. There will also be 12 serviced apartments, with ground floor leisure, retail and office space at 280 George Street.

The report added the project will deliver “significant” economic uplift, estimated to be £16.4 million gross value added per year and more than 300 full-time equivalent jobs. It is not the first time a developer has been supported through the city centre strategy, the report added, but it is the first time a grant has been included.