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Candleriggs Square – 300 Years in the Making

Candleriggs has always been at the very centre of Glasgow’s commercial and social development. During the last 300 years, Candleriggs Square has evolved as the beating heart of a bustling, innovative and entrepreneurial neighbourhood whose fortunes reflect those of the bigger city.

Candleriggs was built in the 1720s as an area within the old city of Glasgow where candlemakers plied their trade at a safe distance from the crowded tenements clustered around the High Street. As the city expanded in the late 18th century, the street became a thriving thoroughfare, lined with tenements and businesses typical of Glasgow at that time. At the start of the 19th century, Candleriggs Square became the centre for Glasgow’s flourishing fruit and vegetable market.

1900s to the Present


The Fruitmarket building on Candleriggs, designed by City Engineer AB McDonald, opens for business and operates successfully until its relocation in 1969.


A vivid description of the market was given by Robert Eadie in his 1926 book Glasgow: Its Character, Romance and Charm: “Colour abounds in this quarter where foregather the merchants of fruit…a pleasant aroma of oranges and fresh vegetables pervades Bell Street, bringing a hint, among the solemn buildings, of country gardens or sunny foreign groves.”


Goldberg & Sons opens its first large department store on the Candleriggs Square site. The retail chain grows to over 100 outlets across the UK by the 1970s.


Urban planners drive the regeneration of the wider area, which is branded ‘Merchant City’ for the first time, in a bid to mirror London’s Covent Garden.

The Old Fruitmarket is refashioned as a concert venue and impressive new developments such as Ingram Square and the Italian Centre are progressed, reflecting the area’s transformation into a lively and contemporary urban quarter.


The Goldberg’s flagship Candleriggs store ceases trading in 1990 and is acquired by Weisfelds in 1994, reopening as discount clothes store.

Trading at the Weisfeld store ceases in 1999, and the site falls into dereliction. The retail building is partially demolished in 2002 following the collapse of an adjacent tenement.


The site is acquired by Selfridges in 2002 but plans for the company to build its first Scottish store are shelved in 2007 with the site eventually sold in 2014.


Selfridges complete demolition of most of the site with interim plans to turn it into a temporary landscaped site for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014.

The Commonwealth Games site includes live performances, music and entertainment, food stalls and opportunities to meet medal winning athletes.

A huge mural overlooking Candleriggs Square of Scottish badminton player Kieran Merrilees by Guido Van Helten was commissioned to celebrate the 2014 games.


Developer Candleriggs Ltd, a joint venture between Mace and Mercer Real Estate Partners, buys the site, and submits a planning application in 2015.

Glasgow City Council approves plans in 2017 for around 900,000 sq. ft. of residential, student, hotel and commercial space.


A joint venture between Drum Property Group and Stamford Property Holdings acquires the Candleriggs site in March 2019.


A deal is agreed with Legal & General to deliver a major 346-apartment Build-to-Rent scheme at the heart of Candleriggs Square.


Detailed approval is granted for the Build-to-Rent Apartment scheme triggering construction to start on site in the summer.

Construction of The Student Hotel, which will become Scotland’s largest hotel, begins in September.