Laings has signed a 15-year lease to take over a landmark B-listed building in Scotland which is set to become the family-run jeweller’s new UK flagship location.
A planning application submitted to Glasgow City Council highlights Laings’ proposal to revitalise Rowan House, a 19th century retail and office development on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street. The independent jeweller’s £5m investment plan will see significant updates made to the iconic 34,468 sq ft outlet space.
Currently occupying the second and third floor office space, owned by Royal London, Laings is now set to transform the full stone-built five-storey building at 68/70 Buchanan Street. With key elements of the expansion plan set to build on the workspaces for its growing team of craftspeople and enhance the overall retail experience, this contract signals the latest milestone in Laings’ multi-layer growth strategy as it builds on its legacy as a leading destination for luxury jewellery and watches.
Stuart McDowell, Managing Director of Laings, said: “Last year, we announced our multi-layer expansion plan to transform our showrooms and workshops across the UK, reimagining the customer experience while ensuring traditional jewellers’ crafts are kept alive for generations to come.
“The centrepiece of this investment plan is our new flagship showroom in Glasgow, where we’ll be bringing Laings to the forefront while creating unique, immersive experiences for our clients. With negotiations to secure Rowan House now complete, and a 15-year lease agreed, we’re excited to be able to announce our plans to deliver a new retail format that captures the imagination of our clients and further enhance the luxury shopping experience in Glasgow.”
Glasgow has been home to Laings since it was established in 1840 and the family business has continued to grow as an iconic brand at the heart of city’s vibrant retail scene, offering an outstanding selection of luxury watches and jewellery across its three showrooms within Glasgow’s Argyll Arcade.
Now stepping out onto Glasgow’s ‘style mile’, Laings is set to transform the iconic Rowan House, bringing the brands from across its Argyll Arcade showrooms under one roof, as well as showcasing its own offering of fine jewellery and diamonds. With retail space spanning the ground and first floors, it’s expected its team of experts will all be transitioned to the new unit, with an additional vacancy for a general manager to join the business on the next phase of its journey already listed. Tasked with overseeing the broad scope of operations at the new Glasgow location, Laings is looking for a candidate with luxury or jewellery sector experience to influence and innovate, while forging meaningful connections that help drive new opportunities for the family-run business in its new retail environment.
The basement, third and fourth floors will provide office space, with an enhanced hospitality area on the fifth floor, while the second floor will host a brand-new watch workshop. Expanding the aspirational workspaces for watchmakers and goldsmiths, the glass fronted watch workshop will create skilled job opportunities, while inspiring the next generation of talent to train in the field. The immersive floor will also offer clients the unique opportunity to join its watchmakers and goldsmiths behind the benches to see their skills in action, drawing back the curtain on the artisan crafts for the first time in the company’s history.
Exterior work to restore the building’s art deco façade is also expected to be carried out, with the artist impressions featuring corporate flags and retractable canopies as a nod to the city’s original Rowan & Co outfitters.
Laings CEO, Joe Walsh, added: “As we continue to innovate with our jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences, we’re looking to bring innovation to every area of the business, while never forgetting the deep-rooted heritage of Laings.
“The Argyll Arcade has been an important part of our story and we’re committed to ensuring the success of the arcade continues. Our three Glasgow showrooms have been invaluable as we’ve built our offering and presence in the city, but as we get ready for this next chapter, we’re open to enquiries about our existing retail units in the arcade.”
Building warrants for Rowan House are expected later this spring to allow Laings to get work underway, with the building set to open its doors later this year.