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Chain Pull The Plug On Plans
Plans for a hotel, restaurant and pub on the site of Hamilton’s former Bairds store have fallen through. JD Wetherspoon confirmed that it was no longer interested in pursuing the £1.5million plans at the vacant site at the Top Cross.
The Bairds building has lain vacant since the store’s shock closure in February 2014 with the loss of 53 jobs. And the pub chain’s withdrawal from the site, which had the potential to create 50 jobs, was met with dismay.
Hamilton Business Improvement District chairman Mark Calpin commented: “We’re very disappointed to hear that JD Wetherspoon have decided not to develop the old Bairds store site. The closure of the store has had a real impact on many of the neighbouring businesses and we call on the council and the Regent Centre to redouble their efforts to find a suitable tenant for the site.”
The 13-bedroom hotel, restaurant and pub scheme emerged last March when South Lanarkshire’s executive committee agreed to vary the ground lease for the Regent Centre and enter into a 170-year lease arrangement directly with JD Wetherspoon.
Council officials and asset managers VALAD had been trying to find an occupier for the landmark building since Bairds vacated the premises.
Maration Ltd hold the ground lease for the Regent Centre, which includes the Bairds site, and VALAD oversee Maration’s interest in centre.
The Regent Centre did not wish to comment on the development.
South Lanarkshire’s community and enterprise resources executive director Michael McGlynn said, “The council is extremely disappointed that the proposed transaction for Wetherspoon to take over the former Bairds unit in the Regent Centre, Quarry Street, has fallen through, despite the best efforts of all parties. The decision not to proceed was solely that of Wetherspoon’s, based on commercial factors to which we were not party.
"We have a close working relationship with the owners of the Regent Centre and their asset managers and have already begun discussions with them on what alternative proposals can be brought forward. This unit is one of the most significant for the town centre and its occupation will be a priority to all stakeholders in the town. Despite facing a challenging economic climate, collectively we will be vigorously be pursuing all feasible alternatives."
Spokesman for JD Wetherspoon Eddie Gershon said, “We can confirm that Wetherspoon is no longer proceeding with the site it had identified in Hamilton. We are however still keen to develop a pub in the town.”
JD Wetherspoon did not wish to comment on their reasons for withdrawing from the Bairds site.
Hamilton is however still set for another big-money bar development. In December, councillors approved plans which would see a former church building being converted into a bar and restaurant. They plan to convert the listed building into “a new upmarket bar and restaurant with function room in the basement” and rename it The Citadel.
Manorview, who recently took over The Windsor Bar in Hamilton, hoped to be able to start the project in spring 2016, providing all aspects of planning have been cleared and approved by then.