A PLAN to breathe new life into Glasgow's Savoy Centre with boutique stores, cafe bars and contemporary art is drawing in a new generation of customers, according to traders as the next phase of the project is launched.

Colab, which was the brainchild of city-born entrepreneur Natalia Codona, has just celebrated its official launch on the ground floor of the centre, which suffered commercially after a succession of fires in the once thriving retail district.

Natalia now has several outlets on her books, including one specialising in retro music-themed clothing and artwork that have been snapped up by Liam and Noel Gallagher and a cafe specialising in Japanese inspired Poke rice bowls. There are now plans to launch a bar in the centre.

The ground floor of the Savoy, where Colab is based, has been completely modernised with murals, bright interiors and attractive drop-light fittings and greenery. Tenants benefit from a flexible, rolling month by month lease, an annual footfall of around 16.8million on Sauchiehall Street as well as some 70,000 students.

Natalia, who has been running vintage shops in Glasgow, since she was 22, says Colab, which is short for collaboration, blends in perfectly with the long-established traders at the Savoy.

She said: "People love a bit of the old and new.

"The Savoy is an iconic building but it's tired and really needed some attention.

"I wanted to create something where you had a bit of art and culture and cuisine.

"We launched in December and we are phasing the works. It's been non-stop since then.

"It's been really sad, what has happened on Sauchiehall Street. I know a few of the businesses really suffered but they have greatly reduced the rates and the electricity is free.

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"It's still a daily struggle though, which is another reason why this is great for the centre.

"The building owners have been great with me, they have really trusted me. "It's only been a few months and I'm really pleased with the turnout.

"We are now in the process of getting a licence for the central space."

Harry Olorunda, who is originally from London but has lived in Glasgow for more than a decade, runs the central space - Kohi with Richie Monroe, Sean Mclennan and Niall Walker which specialises in Poke rice bowls, which he says is drawing in students from nearby Conservatoire and Glasgow School of Art.

He said: "We had the cast from Cinderella ballet in regularly in December.

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"We are targeting the arts scene. The rice bowls are really healthy but also tasty."

Poh-ling Tan, 37, from Glasgow's West End, runs Pie in the Sky, which specialises in hand embroidered slogans and will stitch anything, on demand, within reason.

She said: "I had been doing this for years, going round craft fairs and Comic Con festivals and people were always asking me where I was based.

"Then this came up and I jumped at the chance to do it. The Savoy is a place we have all grown up with in Glasgow and I think people have certain ideas abou it.

"I think a lot of people still don't know we are here but it's really picking up. "I do a lot of customer orders, such as favours for weddings and gifts.

"I get some of the grannies coming in, thinking it's just some nice embroidery and then they read the slogans...."

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Tony Gaughan, helps run Social Recluse, which was launched by Robert Chalmers, who runs another store in the Saltmarket area.

The shop specialises in music and football themed artwork and clothing and Robert's designs have been snapped up by Liam and Noel Gallagher.

Mugs themed around areas of Glasgow and a range of T-shirts celebrating Glasgow boxer Benny Lynch are also popular.

Tony said: "Robert's backgrounf was in the imaging department for a newspaper group. He wanted to incorporate the sub-culture of 1989 and the Hacienda era, into a range of products. He got the idea from New York.

"Adidas have now got some of his stuff."

The latest addition to Colab is Faceplant foods which is capitalising on the vegan trend with home-made breakfast and lunch options including square sausage and sheeze toasties.

Natalia said: "We are not going to change the demographic overnight but I can definitely see the difference it is making to the centre."