Robertson Northern has been appointed to construct a new £4.5 million building on Inverness Campus to support growth in life sciences and technology sectors.

Inverness Campus developer Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has commissioned the firm to build the new 2460 m2 facility. It will be called ‘Solasta House’ and will offer flexible laboratory and office space for new and expanding companies.

The new building is expected to take around a year to complete, and will provided much needed accommodation to meet growing demand.

Five companies – Aqua Pharma, 4C Engineering, Interactive Health, CorporateHealth International and Aseptium – already have space in the existing life sciences building, Aurora House. This is also the home for the business accelerator programme, Pathfinder. The level of interest in the remaining space suggests Aurora House could be full by the summer.

At least 40% of the cost of the Solasta House will be met by the European Regional Development Fund, with the remainder coming from HIE. The building will sit within the life sciences Enterprise Area, which offers incentives such as rates relief to attract companies into the region.

Ruaraidh MacNeil, HIE’s Inverness Campus project director, said: “Inverness Campus is proving to be an attractive and dynamic location for many life sciences and technology businesses. The availability of modern flexible premises, proximity to the university, the NHS and other partners, and increasing opportunities for collaboration appeals to both existing and prospective tenants.

“Having welcomed several new firms onto the Campus over the past year or two, we are now in discussion with prospective tenants for both the remaining space in Aurora House and space in Solasta House. This reflects the attraction of Inverness Campus to investors and businesses, as well as the continued growth in the life sciences sector in our region.”

Solasta House was designed by Threesixty Architecture and received planning consent in April 2017.

The 215-acre Inverness Campus site is designed to provide a range of academic, research and commercial opportunities, with an emphasis on the life sciences sector.

Frank Reid, managing director, Robertson Northern, said: “It’s with great pleasure that we are, once again, involved in the development of HIE’s Inverness Campus.

“Having previously built two phases of student accommodation on the campus site, we will be starting construction of Solasta House, a new purpose built Life Sciences and Technology building.

“Construction will begin later this month and during our time on site, we will continue to engage with students, outlining the opportunities that are available within the construction industry as part of our ongoing commitment to young people.”