Iconic Inverness building restored to create much-needed homes for rent
The former Arnotts building on Union Street in Inverness has been transformed into high-quality flats across four storeys, which will help to address the demand for rental properties in the city.
The landmark development comprises a mix of 53 one and two-bedroom flats, with 31 available for social rent through The Highland Council and the remaining 22 available for mid-market-rent with HHA.
With works now complete, the sympathetic restoration of the listed building has created desirable rental opportunities in a popular city centre location with an abundance of amenities and public transport links on its doorstep.
Formerly partly occupied by popular store, Slaters Menswear, the building has lain vacant since it closed down in 2003, becoming an eyesore for the local community, that was in need of urgent repair.
Now thanks to a £12.5 million investment made by HHA, The Highland Council, Scottish Government, and Inverness City Region Deal, the street has been revitalised to become a prime residential location, attractive to a mix of demographics given the variety of rental tenures available.
Forthpoint Ltd undertook the works, delivered on site by local contractor IBI Joiners Ltd, which included the restoration of large areas of the roof and replacement of sash windows. Funding from The Highland Council was used to restore the original stone façade, which has created a striking entrance to the development and attractive city centre streetscape, in keeping with the wider environment.
Internally, the flats have been completed to a high standard throughout, with all homes enjoying light and airy living spaces. All of the HHA properties include kitchen appliances and a selection of the HHA flats have been designed across two floors, creating a unique offering to the rental market in Inverness.
The flats are complemented with an attractive retail offering on the ground floor, with six units available as completed by Scottish development firm Swilken Estates. Four of the units are accessible on Union Street, and two via Baron Taylor’s Street, which will help to reinstate Inverness as a prime retail destination.
Gail Matheson, CEO at HHA, said: “The demand for well-priced homes in Inverness city centre is strong and we are incredibly proud to see the efforts of HHA, The Highland Council and the project team culminate to offer a unique new rental opportunity for local residents and breathe new life into the city.
“In a bid to retain and attract a skilled workforce to the region, as well as aid the Highland economy, it is imperative that we provide high-quality homes. HHA has completed and is underway with a variety of city centre developments that will help to reinforce Inverness as a destination of choice for businesses and residents alike.
“We look forward to welcoming new residents to the Union Street development and continuing our relationship with The Highland Council, as we identify future locations for development.”
Cllr Glynis Sinclair, Highland Council - Housing and Property Committee chair, said: “The Highland Council working with HHA and Swilken has created much needed housing options and commercial retail space to the heart of Inverness city centre. To repurpose an iconic building to offer 53 housing options and 6 commercial spaces for people to live and work in the city is a fantastic achievement and of huge benefit to the Highlands.
“We know that demand to live and develop business opportunities in the Highlands and indeed the city of Inverness is high, yet suitable housing and commercial space can be a stumbling block for those wishing to take up employment or to remain in the area. The Highland Council, alongside our partners will continue to work to build a portfolio of housing stock to enable people to have viable options available to them.
“The Union Street development is a prime example of how we reinvigorate and make positive changes within the city and I’m confident that the residents and new businesses will bring opportunities, localism and a new vibrancy to this part of the city.”
The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.