Glasgow’s tech scene suffered a blow today with news that the £60 million redevelopment of the iconic Met Tower has been cancelled by developers.

Building owners Bruntwood SciTech have pulled the plug on the restoration project for the former City of Glasgow College building overlooking George Square.

The developers, who purchased the site in 2022 for £16.2 million, only received planning consent to turn the building into a 200,000 sq ft office hub for tech firms six months ago.

However the developers are reportedly now looking to sell the building, famed for its pink People Make Glasgow display – blaming adverse economic conditions for the project’s cancellation.

Local MSP Paul Sweeney said scrapping the proposed works risks Glasgow falling further behind big city rivals such as Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

He said: “It is dismaying to learn that Bruntwood SciTech have decided to suspend their investment in the redevelopment of the iconic Met Tower, one of the city’s most admired modernist buildings.

“Manchester-based Bruntwood SciTech is Britain’s leading developer of specialist life sciences and tech lab space and their investment in transforming the landmark B-listed former College of Building and Printing as a digital and tech hub would have massively improved the city’s position in the life sciences and associated technology industries, generating hundreds of high-quality jobs.

He added: “With rival cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool powering ahead with such investments, Glasgow is at serious risk of falling further behind in its growth and development. I met with Bruntwood SciTech’s CEO this morning to discuss what can be done to help them find a way forward and to realise this ambitious project for Glasgow. I am eager to work with all partners in the city to see the Met Tower back in use as quickly as possible after a decade of disuse.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson added: “While it is disappointing that the proposed Met Tower project will not now take place to join the series of recently completed developments in the city centre, we will be working with partners with a view to do all that we can to help deliver a sustainable redevelopment of the building and site as quickly as possible.”

Bruntwood SciTech – which had pledged to build an interconnecting second 10-storey tower at the site – said it faced spiralling costs due to inflation and high interest rates.

A spokesperson for Bruntwood SciTech said: “Since our acquisition of Met Tower in 2022, there have been significant changes to the economic climate and construction market caused by inflation and high interest rates, both of which have created viability challenges. Like any responsible developer we have to be flexible and respond to changing circumstances, which means accepting our original vision for the building to create an office workspace is not feasible in the current climate. It is a difficult decision and one we have not taken lightly. 

“From our first day in the city, we have been made to feel so welcome by the Glasgow community, and would like to extend specific thanks to Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. 

“We recognise the iconic position of this building, the opportunity it provides for the city, and the need for it to be brought back to life as soon as possible. We are grateful to all those who have supported us with the planning to date and are working with us to look at all the available options for Met Tower’s future.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson added: “We are aware that Scottish Enterprise has been kept updated on the commercial situation of Bruntwood SciTech and the company’s announcement in regards to the Met Tower.

“The company has not received any grant funding or other financial support from Scottish Enterprise, but the agency will continue to work with the developer on potential future projects.”