INVERNESS-based developer HHA has completed the regeneration of the city’s Merchant House, creating eight homes and new commercial space.
Forming part of the 18th Century Castle Street frontage with views overlooking Inverness Castle, the B-listed building had run into a state of disrepair over recent years and was an eyesore.
Under HHA’s ownership, the site has been transformed into a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, complete with a 1,000 sq ft commercial unit on the ground floor which will be owned and leased by HHA.
Made possible through a £1.2 million Scottish Government Partnership Support for Regeneration grant, private finance and City Region Deal funding, HHA has worked with local contractor, Compass Building & Construction Services, to ensure as much of the original building was retained as possible.
‘Intrinsic’ to HHA’s vision was the restoration of the existing building façade, which was removed and re-built stone-by-stone to create an improved streetscape described as mirroring its original character, whilst utilising existing materials.
To the rear of the scheme, a communal courtyard has been revived with the creation of a private garden space for new tenants to enjoy. Existing historic stones and steps that were connected to Inverness Prison previously located at the castle until 1902 have been retained.
Gail Matheson, chief executive at HHA, said, “The restoration of the iconic Castle Street building marks a significant milestone for HHA, as not only is it another building that we have restored to its former glory, but the first time we have secured Partnership Support for Regeneration Funding from Scottish Government and we are proud to help breathe new life into a much-loved part of the city.
“Alongside project partners, we have carefully rejuvenated the building’s original characteristics to create a new destination for people to live, aligning with The Highland Council’s Inverness City Vision roadmap to strengthen the city centre whilst preserving its culture, pride and identity.
“Ensuring that there is a strong pipeline of high-quality homes across Highland communities is paramount to ensure that it remains an attractive destination for businesses and workforces alike. We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio of properties across the north of Scotland, that will include both private and mid-market rent schemes, as we realise the wealth of economic potential the area holds.”
The flats are said to have been completed to a high-quality throughout, with ‘bright and airy’ open plan living and dining spaces complemented with ‘spacious’ bedrooms and modern bathrooms.
Scottish Government housing secretary Shona Robison said, “It’s fantastic to see these homes complete and the restoration of this iconic Castle Street building. I pay credit to all those involved for the major work undertaken to deliver this high-quality development, whilst preserving the character and history associated with the building and its location in the city. Supported by £1.2 million of Scottish Government funding, these flats will support the local community and make a real and lasting difference to the lives of the new residents.
“We are proud of delivering 111,750 affordable homes since 2007 with over 78,000 for social rent. We are now delivering against our commitment of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70% will be for social rent and 10% in remote, rural and island communities.”