Glasgow is rapidly reinventing itself as a place with the knowledge and infrastructure to attract major investment
By Shauna Stirling
The recent American election focused attention on the many areas of the United States that have been left behind as a consequence of globalisation and the greater focus on technology and the internet. This has led to a marked shift in demographics and investment, leaving many former industrial communities in the so-called “rust belt” struggling to find a sustainable future. So how has Glasgow, a city famed for its engineering excellence in the first half of the 20th century and once dubbed ‘The Second City of the Empire’, responded to the same challenges?
Recent plans announced for the development of a Glasgow Airport rail link, while still in their infancy, suggest a city keen to provide the infrastructure to support and grow businesses. With the ongoing discussions about Heathrow still mired in political argument, these plans for Glasgow show a commitment to invest in the infrastructure that is necessary to support a thriving economy, attract further investment and create jobs.
Other initiatives, such as the improvements to the M8 linking Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Central Belt, the ongoing programme of works on the electrification of the Edinburgh/ Glasgow railway line, and the planned introduction of city-wide, super-fast broadband as part of the Gigabit City Network, talk to a city that is outward- looking, ready to do business and absolutely committed to enhancing its national and international connectivity.
Glasgow is also lucky to have three universities that attract students from around the world who will share ideas, contribute to pioneering research and retain a commitment to Glasgow as a place to do business in the future. The city’s universities are already driving world-leading research and technological innovation. Strathclyde University recently launched its Technology and Innovation Centre, which is designed to act as a hub for research, innovation and technology development, and encourage collaboration between academia and industry. The centre has already forged partnerships with a number of major companies, and is the cornerstone of Scotland’s International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone, which aims to develop the offshore renewables sector.
Financial services is another sector that has attracted investment to the city, with Morgan Stanley recently announcing that it is to be an anchor tenant at a major new development which will host the firm’s main offices in the city. Other major financial institutions, such as JP Morgan and BNP Paribas, also have a significant presence in the city.
This reflects Glasgow’s success in offering a cost-effective yet well educated, highly-skilled and vibrant alternative to London. Real estate development, both commercial and residential, continues apace, and plans to redevelop the city’s Tradeston district to create residential, business, retail, cultural and leisure opportunities, bode well for further development investment.
We too see a bright future for Glasgow. As Scotland’s largest law firm, we continue to invest in the city because we recognise its current and future potential. We now have more than 220 colleagues, lawyers and support staff, working in the city – an increase of 40% over the past five years – and moved into our new offices at 110 Queen Street almost exactly a year ago, underscoring our commitment to supporting our many clients in Glasgow for the long term and to the city as a thriving place to do business.