4 September 2020

Stunning £12.5m retail and residential project to form centrepiece of city centre redevelopment

A planned £12.5m Inverness city centre retail and residential development on the site of the former Arnotts department store is being hailed for its architectural merit due to the proposed sympathetic restoration and preservation of listed buildings on Union Street (1863) and Baron Taylor’s Street (1892). The project will bring original features back to life, such as shopfront detailing, spiral wrought iron staircases and exposed walls, with the original facade on Union Street restored to its former glory.

The historic properties at 33-41 Baron Taylor’s Street, which include one of the earliest steel framed buildings in Scotland, will be given a major facelift as part of the development, bringing the original character of one of Inverness’s most atmospheric streets to the fore, creating unique retail, cafe or restaurant space.

The project, which is poised to receive vital Scottish Government funding that would see the plan realised by mid-2021, has regeneration at its heart and would be the biggest city centre retail development since the extension of the Eastgate Centre. As well as breathing new life into Union Street and Baron Taylor’s Street, the development would secure up to 200 local jobs during the construction phase.

The plan, from developer Swilken Estates Ltd, would see the creation of six new retail units - four on Union Street with two fronting onto Baron Taylor’s street, linked by an internal courtyard which would connect two of the centre’s busiest thoroughfares. The upper floors of the four storey development would house 53 apartments for the Highland Council and the Highland Housing Alliance (HHA), providing much needed high quality new housing in the city centre.

With Phase 1 now complete - seeing 7-17 Union Street stripped back internally and externally to its original form - Swilken Estates is poised to push the button on Phase 2 of the project, which would see renovation and construction work begin on the biggest retail and residential development in the city centre in recent years.