The Golden Z
Having gone through some extensive city centre development in the past decade or so, Glasgow has quickly gained the distinction of being the largest centre of shopping in the UK outside of London. The absolute centre of the city’s shopping (and dining) is often referred to as “The Golden Z”, running roughly in the form of the letter “Z” for some 2.5 miles from Sauchiehall Street in the north, down Buchanan Street and Argyle Street in the south.
There’s some talk of “The Golden Z” becoming “The Golden I”, as the two corners of the Z have in recent years become the focal points for shopping and continue to grow. At the northern end of Buchanan Street is the £250 million Buchanan Galleries, opened in 1999. Previously this part of the centre was full of derelict buildings but is one of the nicest and thriving parts of the city, complete with some 80 shops and the adjoining Royal Concert Hall.
At the other end of Buchanan Street is the St Enoch Centre, which opened in 1989. Boasting its status as Europe’s largest glass-covered enclosed area, it also features Scotland’s largest food court. St Enoch Centre is currently undergoing an extensive £100 million refurbishment, slightly behind schedule, which will have a better chance at competing with its rival mall, Buchanan Galleries. To keep the rivalry going, Buchanan Galleries is set to begin a £400 million project to double its size, to compete with St Enoch Centre. I can’t decide which one I prefer, but Hamley’s having opened a standalone toy store in the St Enoch Centre, I’m kinda leaning toward the southern end of the Golden Z. The number of hours I’ve spent there, being a child again… =)
As important as the two focal points of the Golden Z are, it wouldn’t be the same without the three streets which make up the last letter of the alphabet and true city centre of Glasgow. Hence, I will feature them in the coming days.
Glasgow Trivia #15: The corner of Buchanan Street and Argyle Street is dominated by the sizable House of Fraser department store. Although the department store group’s flagship store is on Oxford Street in London, and there are dozens of stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Glasgow branch is where it all started. It was founded in 1849 by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur as a small drapery shop. Come to think of it, I’ve never bought anything there, only popping by at the Hamley’s section, before the bigger Hamley’s opened across the street.
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