New hotel planned for eyesore Inverness street

Artist impression of how the hotel could look
Artist impression of how the hotel could look

A rundown Inverness street could be in line for a boost from plans to convert an office building into a budget hotel.

Alpha UK Property Fund Asset Company wants to create a 59 bedroom facility in Ballantyne House on Academy Street.

The five storey building, which once housed the Press and Journal’s offices, would include a mix of double and family rooms, along with reception facilities.

Ballantyne House in Inverness's Academy Street
Ballantyne House in Inverness’s Academy Street

There will not be a bar or restaurant.

At present the building houses a number of offices, and a recently opened Buddhist centre.

No one from Alpha UK returned the Press and Journal’s calls yesterday.

However according to documents lodged as part of the application state that the site is favoured as it is in a central location, close to the bus and train stations and multistorey car park at Rose Street.

A new frontage would be provided, using blue-grey cladding on the ground floor level.

A new reception and entrance would also be built.

Inverness Business Improvement District manager Mike Smith said it was good news for the city.

He added: “It is great to see private sector investment going into the area.”

Academy Street has been the focus of much debate in the past few years because of its dilapidated state.

Councillors had criticised building owners for not taking action to improve their rundown properties.

However the plans for Ballantyne House are the latest in a line of upgrades in the area.

Next door to the building, Ark Estates has permission to demolish a terrace of B-listed buildings at 92-94 and build 31 apartments.

Further down the street, the Cairngorm Brewery is refurbishing the acclaimed AI Welders building, with plans to preserve the heritage of the B-listed premises while redeveloping it as a continental-style bar and offices.

And The Phoenix pub has been bought by local businessman George Maclean, who also owns the Castle Tavern. He is now in the process of refurbishing the Academy Street venue.