Inverness department store conversion delivers 75 homes
February 9 2023
A former department store in Inverness has been transformed into 53 apartments following a major restoration programme.
The Arnotts Building on Union Street had lain vacant since 2003 with the departure of its last tenant but has been brought back to life by a £12.5m investment by HHA, The Highland Council, Scottish Government, and Inverness City Region Deal.
This work has seen the B-listed Italianate facade made as good as new together with the refurbishment of six ground-floor shopfronts, with upper floors turned to residential use.
Solid timber doors fronting the street provide access to the homes with shutters hiding services and bin store access.
Part of a broader redevelopment effort by Swilken Estates and Ollier Smurthwaite Architects the first phase of work was delivered by Forthpoint and IBI Joiners.
There seems to be a few missing words...the article says "has been brought back to life by a £12.5m by HHA", but a £12.5m what?
Hopefully it's not a government grant. The properties are being let to Mid-Market Rent which is basically private rental except the landlord is a RSL. Hopefully there hasn't been a £12.5m grant to enable development that returns a profit to the RSL. If that's the case a £12.5m loan on commercial terms would be more appropriate.
Better yet the missing word is 'investment', a £12.5m investment to deliver housing in a very handsome building, now that really would be a good news story. And, dare i say an article that should be forwarded to a certain developer in Paisley!
31 homes are available for social rent via The Highland Council and the remaining 22 flats are offered by HHA at mid-market-rent.
Swilken Estates completed the ground-floor retail units separately.
In many smaller regional towns there are long-term vacant buildings that occasionally go up for sale for fairly modest sums. It would be good if the local authority could acquire them and convert them to housing.