Merchant House Inverness shortlisted for two national awards

The regeneration of Merchant House at 51-53 Castle Street in Inverness has received national recognition in the Scottish Home Awards 2023.

Developed by HHA with funding from The Highland Council, Scottish Government and Inverness City Region Deal, Merchant House has been shortlisted in the Housing Regeneration Project of the Year and Renovation of the Year categories.

Forming part of the 18th Century Castle Street frontage with scenic views overlooking Inverness Castle, the B-listed building had run into a state of disrepair over recent years and had created an eyesore for the local community.

Under HHA’s ownership, the site has been transformed into an attractive mix of one and two-bedroom apartments, complete with a 1,000 sq ft commercial unit on the ground floor which is set to become a deli, offering a full range of delicatessen produce, in the summer.

Importantly, many of the original features of Merchant House have been retained including the striking façade that was removed stone by stone, placed into storage and then rebuilt in the original layout to ensure the building retained its iconic identity within the city. A first-of-its-kind approach to re-development in Inverness, the restoration also includes conservation of the staircase, where a new modern-day courtyard with communal space and recycling points has been built around.

Gail Matheson, CEO at HHA, said: “Merchant House represents one of HHA’s most ambitious developments that we have worked closely with The Highland Council and contractor, Compass Building and Construction Services, to deliver and we are very proud to have reinstated the iconic building.

“Now providing new city-centre rental opportunities, we have received high-praise from the local community and the nod from Scottish Homes Awards has been an added bonus. We are looking forward to the ceremony in June and whilst we hope to take home gold, both categories feature strong shortlists and we wish all nominees the best of luck. It is fantastic to see the wealth of regeneration projects that have completed throughout Scotland in 2023.”

The Highland Council, Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Sinclair said: “Merchant House is an exemplary renovation project that demonstrates the importance of restoration and partnership working to achieve positive outcomes and importantly new homes and opportunities within the city of Inverness. The sympathetic, yet innovative project design brings vibrancy and positive change to a part of the city steeped in history.

“It is wonderful that the dedication of the professional team involved has led to two nominations at this prestigious event and I wish everyone involved the best of luck. The challenges facing the construction industry right now are fierce and felt widely, which makes the delivery of Merchant House with all the restoration complexities all the greater. It would be great to bring the award home to the Highlands.”

The Scottish Home Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday 22 June 2023 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Glasgow Central.