The owners of a top hotel have bought the site of a controversial former school in Aberdeen.
Graham and Gillian Wood, who own the Chester Hotel on Queens Road, have now purchased the neighbouring Hamilton School buildings.
The couple said they were looking at a “number of options” for the prime west end site, and said the undisclosed investment marked their commitment to business in the area.
The Woods opened The Chester in 2014 following a £5million refurbishment.
Mr Wood – son of Aberdeen tycoon Sir Ian Wood – said: “The acquisition of the adjacent properties at 55-57 Queens Road provides a good opportunity to purchase a prime west end property. We will be looking at a number of options for developing the property over time. We continue to believe that Aberdeen is a good place to do business. We are pleased with what we have created so far, and this acquisition clearly increases our potential.”
The couple would not disclose how much they paid for the buildings.
Hamilton School was forced to shut its doors in 2014 by the Scottish Government and Care Inspectorate following safety concerns and allegations that children had been assaulted at the premises.
Charges were brought against two members of staff, including the head teacher Kathlyn Taylor, however they were later dropped by the Crown.
The B-listed properties at 55-57 Queens Road have lain empty ever since.
But in July this year Status Properties Limited – made up of businessmen Ivor Finnie and Alan Wallace and others – applied for planning consent to convert the buildings into a hotel, restaurant and bar which has now been granted.
At the time the planning application was met with fierce objections from the Queens Cross and Harlaw Community Council however, who claimed another hotel sandwiched in between the Chester and the Malmaison could result in increased traffic, noise and smell.
The four-storey granite buildings are interconnecting, and the site also features a 22-space car park and a significant area of open ground at the back.
The Chester Hotel currently comprises a fine dining restaurant, lounge bar, spa and 50 bedrooms but the purchase of the new properties would allow for significant expansion.