A historic building in the heart of Inverness is to be converted into an upmarket bar and restaurant after multimillion pound plans were approved.
Revolution Bars is to open a new nightspot at the former McEwens of Perth department store building in the city’s Church Street.
The well-known chain – which has outlets in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow – aims to creat a two-storey bar and eatery at 11-19 Church Street.
Local authority planning officials have now approved a series of applications for the scheme.
Built in 1908 to a French Renaissance style, the building at 19 Church Street is B-listed and internally linked to 11.
McEwens of Perth operated at the site between 2000 and 2013, when the company went into administration.
The planning applications, which included listed building consent, attracted objections from the neighbouring serviced apartments at Inverness City Suites.
They raised concerns that the bedrooms of their apartments would be affected by noise disturbance and nuisance from revellers entering and exiting the premises in the late evening and early morning.
But planning officers said: “Within the city centre, the proposed use is entirely commensurate with existing and surrounding uses.”
Approving the scheme, they concluded: “It is considered that the proposal accords with the principles and policies contained within the development plan and is acceptable in terms of all other applicable material considerations.”
Mike Smith, chief executive of city centre organisation Inverness BID, welcomed the decision last night.
“They are obviously a well-known national name. It’s a great move forward. It will enhance the hospitality offering in the city centre,” he said.
“I think in the last five years we’ve had a lot of investment in the hospitality sector and I think people look to come to Inverness, both from the rest of the Highlands for a night out, and also visitors from elsewhere.
“We have a good reputation in terms of offering, and a good reputation in terms of being welcoming.”
Revolution Bars Group was valued at £100 million when it debuted in the London Stock Exchange in March 2015.
Now boasting 54 Revolution bars and nine under its Revolucion de Cuba brand, the firm made a pre-tax profit of £7.1million last year, up from £2.9million.