AMBITIOUS £144million plans — including two major new buildings — are being progressed for Glasgow City Centre’s innovation district.
Glasgow City Council is working with various partners to develop Glasgow City Innovation District (GCID) in the Merchant City, anchored around the University of Strathclyde.
A report updating councillors states: “The city has the potential to attract a much bigger concentration of innovation and entrepreneurial activity within the GCID by building on extensive collaborative partnerships with industry, exploiting research and innovation excellence, and ensuring connectivity with other major innovation assets.
“Building on these key assets, there is now an opportunity to expand on the offer within the innovation district and develop expansion space for private sector companies in key industries.
“Discussions have taken place between Glasgow City Council, the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Futures Trust about the requirement for enabling infrastructure to support the district.
“The proposal is to scale up the successful model of industrial cluster development by creating two new buildings within the GCID — where the Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) and the industry-focused Inovo are located.
“This will provide a focus for the GCID’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem through the physical creation of an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, the co-location of researchers with start-ups, small to medium-sized enterprises and larger local and international companies, and the provision of demonstrator facilities and labs for collaborative research and development activity across the supply chain.”
No further details regarding the buildings are given although planning permission has been given for Inovo 2 at Albion Street/Ingram Street/Shuttle Street as part of the innovation district.
There is also a high profile undeveloped site nearby at Shuttle Street/College Street/High Street, above.
The council report continues: “An initial assessment indicates that the expansion of the GCID will generate significant economic impacts at the Glasgow and Scottish levels of between 5,500 to 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs and £900million to £1.2billion of net additional gross value added over the first 10 years of its operation. This will be refined and tested as the business case develops.
“It is estimated that the full project will require around £144million of investment from the various partners.
“The council is now keen to explore options to support this development, with the intention of contributing up to £50million to fill the funding gap.”
The concept of innovation districts has emerged in recent years as innovation clusters have begun to emerge in city centres away from traditional out-of-town business parks.
They have been defined as “geographic areas where leading edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups,
business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.”
The city council report states: “Innovation districts have the unique potential to spur productive, inclusive and
sustainable economic development.
“At a time of sluggish growth, they provide a strong foundation for the creation and expansion of firms and jobs by helping companies, entrepreneurs, universities, researchers and investors across sectors and disciplines co-invent and co-produce new discoveries for the market.
A second Glasgow innovation district is being developed in the west of the city — Glasgow Riverside Innovation District (GRID) — anchored around University of Glasgow and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital at Govan.