An Inverness charity shop is being demolished as work on a new block of flats in the city centre gets under way.
Ark Estates is tearing down the former New Start Highland base at 99 Church Street to make way for a four-storey complex.
The property – designed by Colin Armstrong Architects – will house 10 affordable one-bedroom properties as well as a purpose-built ground floor residential unit.
The charity voluntarily vacated the property a few weeks ago and work has now launched after being delayed by the pandemic. The project is expected to be complete by next winter.
The charity shop has moved to Carsegate Road North.
Willie Gray, managing director of Ark Estates, said: “We are delighted to be seeing work commence at 99 Church Street which will provide much-needed affordable housing and purpose-built retail space for the city centre.
“It’s a real sign of the recovery of a sector which has suffered due to coronavirus.
“The development will be a great boost for the local economy, providing employment for up to 45 workers during the build.”
Inverness Provost and Inverness Area Committee chairwoman, councillor Helen Carmichael, said: “This promises to be an exciting and much-needed retail and residential development which will enhance the city centre of Inverness.
“After the unscheduled delay due to Covid-19, it is an encouraging sign that we are starting to slowly return to something closer to normality.”
Throughout the duration of the works, strict health and safety procedures will remain in place across the site including temperature checks for staff and visitors, a rota system and one way routes to facilitate social distancing.
Ark Estates has also begun construction on a new affordable housing development in Dingwall.
Contractors from O’Brien Homes will now be carrying out the works, which developers say will bring a welcome boost to the local economy.
It has been named after local luminary Joe Yates as a way of paying tribute to his years of service to the community.
Councillor Margaret Paterson, who knew Mr Yates, said: “Joe Yates was a stalwart in the town for many years. He was well loved and well respected.
“Once you met Joe you could never forget him as he was full of enthusiasm for his beloved town of Dingwall.
“He was a member of many groups in the town and if you needed something done Joe was there, ready and able. He was fantastic as compere for various concerts in the Town and no matter how many times I heard his jokes they still made me laugh.”