We caught up with Christian Bruce, Partner at property management company, Redpath Bruce on one of the recent Blocktalk podcasts. You can listen to the full podcast on Spotify, iTunes and Google Podcasts but we wanted to share a snippet about Christian’s building renovation project.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this question because there are lots of things you can imagine. I don’t want to admit how long I’ve been working you know, but over 30 years or so what’s a million stories but actually the one that I think crops up in my head and so I’m going to dive in with that’s directly across the road from our Glasgow office I think is the ugliest biggest eyesore in Glasgow and that’s 141 West Regent Street which is rotting away slowly halfway up the street just one block down from Blythswood Square.
If you know the building, I think everyone in Glasgow knows the building, you’ll go past thinking, “surely something can be done with that?” It was owned by somebody who actually became a client of ours, so we managed it briefly until it was unmanageable. But I then contrived to broker the sale of it to a developer client of mine and successfully did. I brought buyer and seller together and they shared my fees 50/50. I would have done it for nothing if I was perfectly honest with you just to see this thing move forward.
It was a listed building, and you’ve got massive issues with listed buildings and demolition. But the developer managed to get the listed building consent to demolish it, and a planning permission for a seven-storey serviced apartment block with a restaurant on the ground floor. It looks really funky, you can visit the portal, you’ll be able to see it’s got copper panelling and, and butts in different places that are at various levels up the building. It’s quite an attractive sight. It’s modern. And it will dwarf everything south of it until you get to 101 West Regent Street, which is a big building next to our old offices.
Subsequently, that developer went into administration but through my connections, it was purchased out of administration. They’re just about to start knocking it down so we’re seeing some progress there. And we’ll have to live in a building site for two years and our windows will be filthy. And we’ll be trailing rubbish into the building, which happens with a building site but it’s a price worth paying for that site to be redeveloped.
And, you know, I’ll have played a little part and the progress of that site, but you know, it has depressed office rents in the whole of West Regent Street, I’d say but, also it’s made the street less attractive to people not least in my office, which actually stares out at it, and I’ve been looking at it for five years. So if that building gets dropped this year, and this sexy seven-storey service apartment block goes up, my work on this planet will be done.
So that’s the project that I’ll look back and go well, we made a difference there to that little corner of Glasgow, which, you know, we’re very close to. I mean, my grandfather, William Redpath Bruce, he set up office in 103 West Regent Street, which was effectively the equivalent of serviced offices back then in a single room. They then moved to Bath Street, and various other locations, I think in between as the business grew.
Then Russell and my father Iain, bought 103 West Regent Street, I think not, not through any romantic notion, I think it just became available, and I think we were 38 years in that location. And then Ryan and I bought 152 West Regent Street. So West Regent Street has been very much the Redpath Bruce Street. And so to make a little difference, to that crumbling building can be a charming little, little anecdote, I think.
The Blocktalk Podcast is for professionals in the property management industry. It is hosted by Brian Welsh, our MD,and if you enjoyed this article or have listened to the podcast and want to connect with Brian, please head over to his website, brianwelsh.co.uk