Merchant House in Inverness brought back to life by local developer HHA

A historic property in the centre of Inverness is ready to again be occupied after a revamp creating eight “much-needed” homes and new commercial space, thanks to a developer based in the city.

B-listed Merchant House, at 51-53 Castle Street, is described as having run into a state of disrepair in recent years. Forming part of the 18th Century Castle Street frontage and overlooking Inverness Castle, it has now under HHA’s ownership been turned into a mix of seven one- and a pair of two-bedroom penthouse apartments and 1,000-square-foot commercial unit on the ground floor that the firm will lease out.

It said the “sympathetic” redevelopment was enabled by a £1.2 million Scottish Government Partnership Support for Regeneration grant, private finance, and City Region Deal funding, with the business working with local contractor Compass Building & Construction Services to ensure that as much of the original building was retained as possible.

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The building façade was removed and re-built stone by stone, while at the back of the scheme, a communal courtyard has been revived with the creation of a private garden. Furthermore, existing historic stones and steps connected to Inverness Prison previously located at the castle until 1902 have been retained.

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HHA said the development is its latest in the Highlands, with boss Gail Matheson stating: “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. We are looking forward to expanding our portfolio of properties across the north of Scotland, which will include both private and mid-market rent schemes, as we realise the wealth of economic potential the area holds.”

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “It’s fantastic to see these homes complete and the restoration of this iconic Castle Street building. [The Scottish Government is] 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 per cent will be for social rent, and 10 per cent in remote, rural and island communities.”

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'The restoration of the iconic Castle Street building marks a significant milestone for HHA,' says the developer. Picture: Ewen Weatherspoon.

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