Works to transform a derelict department store in Inverness are entering a new phase as developers release artist impressions showcasing the finished product.
The former Arnotts and House of Fraser department store, stretching from 7-11 Union Street, is being given a major facelift.
The £12.5 million project is attempting to make the building suitable for modern use while also maintaining its original character.
Both the internal and external foundations of the property have now been stripped back to their original form, marking the completion of phase one of the works.
And as developers Swilken Estates Ltd prepare to begin phase two of ground works, fresh artist impressions of the city centre property have been released.
The project will create of six retail units on the ground floor, with four fronting onto Union Street and the remaining units looking out onto Baron Taylor’s Street.
An internal courtyard will also be created on the ground floor of the 19th century category B listed property, providing a link between the two busy city streets.
The remaining four floors will be converted to create 53 residential properties.
Up to 200 jobs will be secured during the construction phase of the development, which is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year.
Developer Stuart Pender said: “We are delighted to be making such a significant investment in Inverness city centre.
“It will play a key part in the regeneration of Union Street, Baron Taylor’s Street and the wider city centre area.
“After an unforeseen delay due to Covid-19, we are looking forward to starting the construction phase on this major development.
“It will be a massive boost for the city, creating a large number of jobs as well as providing six new retail units and 53 high quality affordable homes.”
Inverness-based IBI Joiners have been established as principle contractors for the development, which will provide much-needed high quality housing in the city centre.
Crown and City Centre Community Council welcomed the development, which a spokesman said will boost “town centre residential density to the benefit of existing businesses.”
He added: “The development displays a commitment towards revitalising the city centre, which is both welcome and commended.”
The project will bring original features of the department store back to life, such as shopfront detailing, spiral wrought iron staircases and exposed walls, while the original facade on Union Street will be restored to its former glory.
The development is poised to receive vital Scottish Government funding to help ensure its completion.
Allan Maguire, head of development and regeneration at Highland Council, added: “We are very, very close to negotiating a deal with the Scottish Government to bring this project to fruition.
“It could be the catalyst for the whole regeneration of the Baron Taylor’s Street and Union Street area and would significantly lift that area of the city centre.”