Construction has started on three new retail units in Forres as part of a move to address increasing demand from residential developments in the town.
The shops are on Falconer Avenue, close to its junction with Grantown Road, and expected to create 20 jobs.
Agent Springfield Real Estate Management (SREM) has already signed up the Co-op for a 3,500sq ft convenience store. The two remaining units, each about 1,000sq ft, will be marketed soon.
The whole development is due to be completed in October.
It comes as the second phase of Springfield Properties’ 100-home Knockomie Braes development, just off Mannachie Road, reaches the halfway mark.
Phase two of the project is currently in the planning stages.
SREM managing director Alan Esson said: “The Forres housing development is providing much-needed family homes in the area and our client, as responsible developers, recognised the need to provide certain facilities to help the community develop.
“The three commercial units will provide new families with the facilities they need to create a sense of cohesion with the surrounding area and will also benefit the local economy.
“Demand is already high for quality commercial units in the north of Scotland and, thanks to the growing number of families planning to move to Forres, the remaining two units are generating a considerable amount of interest.”
The Co-op is making a six-figure investment in its new store, which is expected to open this year.
Co-op regional acquisition manager Ian Mason said: “The Co-op is moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum, and our ambition is to ensure the store is a local hub for people living in the area.”