A historic building described as one of the finest Georgian townhouses in the UK is coming onto Glasgow’s property market by the end of the year.

A major restoration project is progressing to transform the A-listed Laurieston House into 11 luxury apartments, safeguarding a building that has been on the “at risk” register since the late 1990s.

Built in 1806, its ornate internal plasterwork is said to have been the work of Francisco Bernasconi, who was brought to Britain by George III to decorate Windsor Castle. 

Prospective tenants will exit their apartments down four roof-lit elliptical staircases and onto Carlton Place through a curved Doric portico.

The Greek revival-style flourishes are said to be the first example in Scotland and may have been influenced by the excavations at Pompeii.

Carlton Place is made up of two long, identical, neoclassical terraces which were designed as a single architectural concept, a first for Glasgow, and built by brothers John and David Laurie.

Glasgow Times:

Laurieston House was the centrepiece of the terrace and home to the brothers.

The original architect was Peter Nicholson, who is regarded as one of the most significant of his time, and the work was completed by John Baird Senior.

The restoration is being overseen by Glasgow architects Elder and Cannon on behalf of property firm MMLL Apartments Ltd.

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“The whole terrace is probably the oldest residential project in the south side of the city,” said Tom Connolly, a director of the firm.

“The public areas and the ground and first floor have been recognised as some of the most significant private apartments in Britain because of the ornate plasterwork.

“The staircases are exceptional, a tour de force of workmanship from the beginning of the 19th century.

Glasgow Times:

“Laurieston House was originally two palace-fronted townhouses in the middle of the terrace and they are going to be grouped together to form 11 apartments.

“It’s an adaptive restoration project, which means you are keeping all the important parts of the building for a contemporary use.”

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The abandoned building was acquired by the Strathclyde Building Preservation Trust in the late 1990s and substantial repairs were carried out. It was used as a centre for disabled children until the 1980s, but has been empty since that time.

Glasgow Times:

Planning permission for apartments was granted in 2019 and the year-long restoration project got under way last year and will include work to clean and replenish the blonde sandstone exterior.

Glasgow City Council said previously that it welcomed the preservation of one of the city’s “most valuable” buildings.

The apartments are expected to be available for rent by the end of the year.

“They really are dramatic,” added Mr Connolly, who said they will be marketed as executive apartments, which are usually fully furnished “home-away-from-home” lets with a fully stocked kitchen and designer furnishings.

He said the development would contribute to the regeneration of the area south of the River Clyde.

“Tradeston is on the up,” he said.

“The north side of the river has had enhancement so there is now an opportunity for the south side of the river, linked by the suspension bridge, because the bridge splits the two terraces of Carlton Place and takes you into the south side.”

Historic Environment Scotland said Laurieston House had been listed as Category A  “in recognition of its outstanding architectural and historic interest.”

A spokeswoman added: “The survival of its fine classical plasterwork decoration to the interior is particularly exceptional for its date and building type.”

She said developer changes would be specific to each building and must be “appropriate and sympathetic” and would be approved by Glasgow City Council.