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G1 Group rumoured to be eyeing up former BBC Scotland headquarters as venue

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

June 27, 2011 | 3 min read

Colourful Glasgow nightclub owner Stefan King is believed to be interested in acquiring the former BBC Scotland headquarters in the west end of the city, according to a report in The Scotsman on Saturday.

The newspaper’s business editor, Terry Murden, reported that he understood King, the man behind the Corinthian and Arta in the Merchant City area of Glasgow, is in talks with Royal Bank of Scotland, the owner of the former college that was converted for use as a broadcasting centre in 1936. King is reputed to be a multi-millionaire.

Wrote Murden: “His plans, if confirmed, were unknown, but he has previously attempted to open a nightclub in the nearby Botanic Gardens. The BBC site was acquired for housing and a hotel before the BBC quit the site in 2007 and moved to purpose-built offices and studios on the south side of the River Clyde.”

Murden claimed that the site was bought out of administration two years ago by West Register Investments, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which has owned the site ever since.

He said the owners have been trying to find a buyer and a source claimed that King was "far down the line". King has opened numerous bars, clubs and cinemas in the city - including the Corinthian, based in a former courthouse, and Arta in the old cheese market.

“His interest in the former BBC Scotland base follows his controversial attempts at opening a nightclub in a long-abandoned railway station in the Botanic Gardens fronting the Great Western Road. He was said to have had support for the project from the former leader of the city council, Steven Purcell. It was rejected after a long campaign of opposition.

“Opponents included the actors Robert Carlyle and Bill Paterson; Still Game stars Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan; Belle and Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch; and writer Alasdair Gray who joined forces with botanists, residents and business people.”

Queen Margaret Medical College was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1890 and was the world's first medical college for women until its pre-war conversion for the BBC.

Since the corporation left the building has lain empty and has been vandalised. Thieves have stripped lead and copper from the building and there are concerns over its long-term future. There is now 24-hour on-site security at the site.

Added Murden: “No-one was available at King's G1 group to confirm or deny King's interest. Royal Bank of Scotland was also unavailable for comment.”

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