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Urban Splash drops Cardross plans

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Urban Splash has walked away from the high-profile project to redevelop the Gillespie Kidd and Coia-designed St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross near Glasgow

The developer had been working with Gareth Hoskins on a scheme for the crumbling 1960s ‘masterpiece’, which has been derelict since 1980 and was set to become a mixed-use housing and leisure redevelopment.

However, according to site owners, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow, Urban Splash pulled out due to viability issues. It is understood £5 million worth of public cash was needed to get the project off the ground.

Ken Crilly, development director of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, said: ‘Urban Splash has left the scene [because] they couldn’t stack it up financially.’

He added: ‘Over many decades no one has come up with a solution for the site, it has always been the church’s view that no commercial scheme is viable for St Peter’s.’

The diocese is now in sole discussions with public arts group NVA, which in November last year revealed its government-backed plans to convert the building into an ‘intentional Modernist ruin’.

Angus Farquhar, NVA creative director, confirmed the organisation was the ‘sole body taking [Cardross] forward.’

He explained: ‘Most people have acknowledged that the notion of commercial development of that site was quite problematic. Ministerial endorsement for a public realm outcome has been a decisive shift [away from the commercial development].’

Under NVA’s plans, an ‘incremental’ introduction of artists and artworks to the site would create an ‘intellectual context’ for the ‘partial’ restoration. A series of international design competitions was also mooted when the project launched.

The organisation showcased the project when it represented Scotland during the final weekend of the Venice Biennale (20-21 November 2010).

Urban Splash and Gareth Hoskins were unavailable for comment.


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