Super casino at heart of £1.2bn harbour plan

A GBP 1.2 billion plan to transform Glasgow’s waterfront into a world-class tourist destination, complete with a super casino and leisure and retail facilities, was unveiled yesterday.

The plans are part of a major revision of the original blueprint for the Glasgow Harbour development on the derelict north bank of the Clyde, close to Partick.

Built around the new River Museum, the planned development includes 27,400 square metres of retail space, a 200-bed, five-star hotel and casino complex, a ten-screen cinema and a 30-storey apartment block.

Developers hope the complex will create more than 10,000 jobs, attract an additional two million visitors to the city each year and generate £89 million in annual revenue.

However, the project hinges on the granting of a licence for the „super casino“ leisure complex, which would be run by Las Vegas gaming company MGM Mirage. The government has said it will grant just one super casino licence for the UK, and three other projects are already under consideration.

The development company, Peel Ports, said the redrafting of the original 2001 blueprints, affecting more than 30 hectares in the original 52-hectare masterplan, and taking in a stretch of land at Castlebank and Yorkhill, had come following a re-evaluation of the site’s potential uses.

Presenting the revised proposals at Peel Ports‘ Glasgow headquarters, Tom Allison, the company’s chief executive, said the project could have a profound effect on the city. He said: „Glasgow Harbour is the most pivotal development seen in the city for decades. It has the scope and ambition to truly transform the city.“

Scott Taylor, the chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, added that the project was vital in raising the city’s global profile. He said: „Glasgow Harbour will play an important role in reinforcing the city’s reputation on a national and international scale.“

The proposed super casino will be competing with three other projects for government approval. Rangers FC has already put forward plans for a super casino, which has received council backing; another has been proposed for the SECC; and Blackpool has already applied to build one.

Mr Ashworth conceded that the plans depended on Peel Holdings winning the casino licence. He said: „We don’t like to think of a plan B. It’s like going into a boxing match thinking: ‚What happens if I lose?‘

„We are doing everything we can to take the plans forward and are confident we have a very strong case.“

MGM Mirage, which owns 12 casinos on Las Vegas’s Sunset Strip, said that if it succeeded, the likes of Elton John and the Rolling Stones would be lined up to open the venue.

The revised planning application was submitted to Glasgow City Council yesterday, asking for detailed changes to the existing planning consent that was received five years ago.

If it is successful, the development could be up and running by 2009.