Glasgow’s O2 ABC music venue looks set for demolition, following the submissions of plans to Glasgow City Council.
A building warrant application seeking to demolish the “substaintially fire-damaged” building at 326 Sauchiehall Street “in its entirety” has been received by the council, following the building’s devastation by the blaze which broke out in Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building in June last year.
The historic structure was previously the Regal Cinema as well as housing a diorama theatre and even a circus in its near-150-year history.
The cinema – which showed Glasgow’s first public film and once boasted a capacity of well over 23000 – closed in 1999 but the building opened again in 2005, retaining its name as the O2 ABC. The renovated structure was then home to two music venues, the larger upstairs room home to Europe’ largest glitter ball under its distinctive turquoise roof.
In the 13 years leading up to the second Art School fire that destroyed the ABC, the venue played host to a diverse range of acts including Bert Jansch, King Creosote, Dananananaykroyd, The Skids, Half Man Half Biscuit, and Chemikal Underground’s 15th Anniversary show – the ideal size for acts not quite big enough for the Barrowland or the ABC’s cavernous cousin, the Academy.
Since the announcement of the proposed demolition, various arts and music figures have spoken ot their disappointment that at the least the building’s facade couldn’t be saved – with others inevitably suggesting that the fire was the ideal opportunity to place yet more student flats on Sauchiehall Street.
A petition has been established to save the building – you can (and should) sign here.
Looks like they’re gonna knock down the ABC in Glasgow, rather than rebuild it. Damn shame. https://t.co/IQ6QqGkKe6
— LoveMusicGlasgow (@LoveMusicGlasgo) February 6, 2019
Nermind the cultural aspect, demolishing an Art Deco cinema frontage in a street that millions is being spent to look better would be an act tantamount to vandalism. @GlasgowCC https://t.co/DDfqQGWxmh
— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) February 6, 2019
Surely saving at least the facade of the ABC is crucial to the built history of Glasgow and more personally relevant to most Glaswegians than the art school. @SusaninLangside @MhairiHunter @CaptainKim @jonmolyneuxSGP https://t.co/g3KhfKJD6o
— Henry Bell (@Henbell) February 6, 2019