Plans to redevelop a landmark listed building in Glasgow city centre have been shelved.

The Met Tower was being redeveloped by Bruntwood SciTech, a property company focused on the science and technology sector.

The 14-storey former College of Building and Printing tower, which has lain vacant since 2014, was acquired by the company from property developer Osborne+Co for £16.2m in 2022.

The specialist property developer’s initial plans were to redevelop the Grade B-listed building, which has been vacant since 2014, into 113,000sq ft of co-working space for expanding tech and digital businesses.

That original £30 million investment proposal was doubled to £60m with a second phase of an additional 100,000sq ft of workspace at an adjacent site to the Met Tower. There were also plans for a new publicly-accessible landscaped plaza between the two buildings.

Bruntwood SciTech's detailed plans for the technology and digital hub outlined how the existing 110,000 sq ft, 14-storey Met Tower was to be redeveloped to offer serviced offices for between two and 40 people and larger leased office space, along with multiple meeting rooms including a 16-person boardroom as well as flexible breakout spaces, a wellness and treatment room, a “grab-and-go” café, and multi-faith room.

Meanwhile, the 95,000 sq ft, 10-storey tower was to offer medium to large office spaces, along with breakout space opening out into a new plaza, a café, retail space, and a roof terrace, with direct access into all facilities in Met Tower.

After planning permission was approved in 2023, the developer said the two towers would "offer more than 200,000 sq ft of serviced and leased office space to supercharge the growth of the city’s tech and digital sector.”

The building was set to reopen in winter 2025.

Bruntwood SciTech said challenging economic conditions were behind the decision to cancel the redevelopment plans.

Glasgow Times: The planned development (Image: Bruntwood SciTech)The planned development (Image: Bruntwood SciTech) (Image: Bruntwood SciTech)

In a statement issued by the company, a spokesperson told the Daily Record: “Since our acquisition of Met Tower in 2022, there have been significant changes to the economic climate and construction market caused by inflation and high interest rates, both of which have created viability challenges.

“Like any responsible developer we have to be flexible and respond to changing circumstances, which means accepting our original vision for the building to create an office workspace is not feasible in the current climate. It is a difficult decision and one we have not taken lightly.

“From our first day in the city, we have been made to feel so welcome by the Glasgow community, and would like to extend specific thanks to Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

“We recognise the iconic position of this building, the opportunity it provides for the city, and the need for it to be brought back to life as soon as possible. We are grateful to all those who have supported us with the planning to date and are working with us to look at all the available options for Met Tower’s future.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “While it is disappointing that the proposed Met Tower project will not now take place to join the series of recently completed developments in the city centre, we will be working with partners with a view to do all that we can to help deliver a sustainable redevelopment of the building and site as quickly as possible.”

Paul Sweeney, Labour MSP for Glasgow and trustee of Glasgow City Heritage Trust, expressed his dismay at the news.

He said: “It is dismaying to learn that Bruntwood SciTech has decided to suspend their investment in the redevelopment of the iconic Met Tower, one of the city's most admired modernist buildings, inspired by Le Corbusier's famous La Cité Radieuse building in Marseille.

“Manchester-based Bruntwood SciTech is Britain's leading developer of specialist life sciences and tech lab space and their investment in transforming the landmark B-listed former College of Building and Printing as a digital and tech hub would have massively improved the city’s position in the life sciences and associated technology industries, generating hundreds of high-quality jobs.

“With rival cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool powering ahead with such investments, Glasgow is at serious risk of falling further behind in its growth and development. I met with Bruntwood SciTech's CEO this morning to discuss what can be done to help them find a way forward and to realise this ambitious project for Glasgow. I am eager to work with all partners in the city to see the Met Tower back in use as quickly as possible after a decade of disuse.”

When it opened as the Stow College of Building in 1964, the North Hannover Street premises was one of the first commercial high-rises in the city.

It later underwent a merger becoming, as many will know it, the Glasgow College of Building and Printing.

The landmark building was covered with a huge “People Make Glasgow” graphics wrap for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Glasgow City Council had previously approved plans to convert the building into a 260-room hotel alongside office and retail space under Osborne and Co.