Contractors are putting the finishing touches to a prominent Inverness city centre development as months of building works draw to a close.
Inverness-based IBI Joiners will hand over the keys to 99 Church Street to developers Ark Estates later this month as works on the new residential and retail development conclude.
Designed by Colin Armstrong Architects, the four-storey premises will house 10 affordable one-bedroom properties and a ground floor residential unit.
The project has generated a much needed boost for both the employment sector and the local economy, providing 45 jobs for local workers.
Willie Gray, managing director of Ark Estates spoke of his delight as the development nears completion.
“We are delighted to be on track to deliver this high-quality building at 99 Church Street in November,” he said.
“We believe that the new residential and purpose-built retail development – which breathes life into what was formerly a neglected site – will play a key role in building a better city centre.
“I think the development is a great example of a public/private regeneration project, providing high-quality homes and a far more usable retail space than was there before.”
He added: “With Inverness-based IBI Joiners appointed as principal contractor – with many local subcontractors also used – the development provided a great boost for the local economy, sustaining employment for up to 45 workers during the build.”
The city centre site was originally home to New Start Highland charity shop.
Developers demolished the three-storey charity shop last year to make way for the modern housing development to help breathe new life into the site.
Prior to the construction phase of works on the site, archaeologists from AOC Archaeology excavated the land.
Researchers discovered a series of medieval ruins beneath the foundations, providing a rare glimpse into the history of the city’s iron smithing industry.
The development is one of a number of construction projects currently underway across the city.
53 Castle Street
Works are progressing well on nearby Castle Street to bring a derelict site back to life.
Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) sanctioned the demolition of a derelict property on 53 Castle Street to facilitate the construction of a new housing and retail development.
The property will feature eight modern flats alongside a new retail unit on the ground floor.
Officials say construction works are progressing on schedule ahead of completion next summer.
The building, formerly home to a bridal shop, was one of the city’s oldest structures, however, over time had fallen into a state of disrepair.
Developers demolished the historic structure with the sole purpose of transforming the city centre property which overlooks Inverness Castle.
In an effort to retain the original charm of the former premises, various characteristics of the property have been restored for inclusion in the new build.
Stonework from the original structure has been retained and restored for incorporation into the façade of the new premises.
Officials from HHA say contractors have been working to overcome the challenges of the project, including the intricate work entailed in retaining the history of the city centre site.
A spokesperson for HHA said: “We are pleased that our development on Castle Street is progressing well and is on track to complete next summer.
“Of course, we have faced some challenges. The listed building is located within the city centre, so space is constrained. In addition, some of the work is intricate and involves rebuilding the façade using the original stonework.
“Despite this, we have been liaising closely with the contractor and are pleased that we are reaching key development milestones.”
Controversial hotel takes shape
An “eyesore” site in Inverness is unrecognisable as works to construct a new 175-bed Marriott hotel continues.
Construction works on the multi-million pound development, masterminded by Dutch developer Vastint Hospitality, has been underway since March following more than a year of delays.
The hotel has breathed new life into the Glebe Street land – previously home to the city’s swimming pool – after more than two decades of lying dormant.
In July, residents caught their first glimpse of the scale of the development as the first block of rooms were installed by contractors.
Less than five months on, construction works are gathering pace with the property beginning to take shape.
The controversial Marriott Hotel development is the first project to be granted planning approval on the Glebe Street plot.
The successful hotel designs were the second of their kind to be put forward by the developers after their initial proposals were knocked back by planners describing them as “hideous” and “absolutely bogging.”
In December 2019, members of the Highland Council’s south planning committee put their reservations aside to grant planning approval to the new decisions.