Detailed plans have been revealed for a new 210-bed hotel in the centre of Inverness.
Plans now lodged with Highland Council show an L-shaped block in light natural stone on the site currently occupied by the low level car park on Rose Street.
The branding shown is Hampton by Hilton, but developers, SRP Inverness Limited say they are not in a position to confirm that they are taking on this franchise until planning is through.
The entrance to the six-storey building will effectively be on a new street created from the existing pedestrian link from Rose Street past the Highland Back Packers Hostel to Farraline Park.
The street would be widened to accommodate buses and taxis one-way heading from Farraline Park into Rose Street, delivering on Highland Council’s aspiration to reduce the number of buses using Academy Street.
In their planning brief, SRP Inverness Limited say their objective is to introduce a new international hotel brand to the city and “support the growing demands for Inverness as a key tourist destination while remaining sensitive to the unique Highland qualities of the city centre”.
Stornoway entrepreneur Stewart Campbell whose hospitality consultancy business Westview Consultancy Ltd is part of the development team said: “It’s exciting. The city needs a new hotel, quickly.”
Mr Campbell said the hotel’s public spaces will reflect local culture and history, while Caithness slabs are planned for the new street.
The bar and dining area will be open to the public for all-day light dining, and space has been set aside for up to three retail units.
The hotel will also have its own gym.
Car parking will be in a central courtyard accessed via a pend from Rose Street, with developers saying they expect the majority of guests will be using public transport.
Pricing will vary according to demand, Mr Campbell said, but rooms are likely to start at around £80. Bedrooms will be standard, but configured as doubles, twins or family rooms.
The application is the fruit of months of pre-application planning including a public exhibition and sit-downs with council planners and the Inverness Design Review Panel.
Original plans to create two separate hotels on the site, one seven-storey and the other six, were changed after advice from these consultations.
Mr Campbell said: “We were asked to reduce the seven storey one down to six in line with the surrounding cityscape, and it became more viable to have a single six-storey hotel.”
Mr Campbell said he hoped that the application would reach planning committee stage for a decision in around three months.
The old Rose Street car park would be retained throughout the Christmas season when it is busiest, he said, and likely to be demolished in January for work to begin on the new hotel.