MORE than 60 long-term jobs will be created with the addition of a new hotel in Inverness.
Patio Hotels is investing £5.5 million to transform Bridge House in Church Street into four-star accommodation.
A formal planning application has been submitted to Highland Council by the owners of the city’s Kingsmills Hotel.
They hope the new 79-bedroom hotel, restaurant and bar can open for business next year.
Tony Storey, of Kingsmills Hotel Ltd, said: “We’re tremendously excited by this. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I promise something very different from anything the city has seen.”
It promises to be a “stylish, cutting edge, urban hotel”.
The applicants have highlighted the growing demand for hotel accommodation, with the Kingsmills achieving a revenue increase of 80 per cent since 2012 and an 86.2 per cent occupancy rate last year.
They have pledged to employ local contractors “where competitively viable”.
Further indirect jobs would be supported locally in suppliers of construction materials and equipment.
The applicants also say the proposed development would increase demand for local produce “and have a beneficial impact on the local economy”.
Mr Story added: “This conversion will help to improve Inverness’s developing heart and bring employment and tourism to the centre of the city.”
Black Isle Brewery has, meanwhile, opened its new Black Isle Hostel on the corner of Academy Street and Post Office Lane.
The long-time empty office space now accommodates a 54-bed hostel designed for budget travellers and locals who may opt to stay in town after a night out. The hostel is set over two floors.
Black Isle Brewery owner David Gladwin said: “There’s a real lack of budget accommodation in the middle of Inverness that’s convenient and easy to access.
“We think this hostel offers great value and will also complement the Black Isle Bar on Church Street.
“We want to encourage people to eat, drink and stay in the city centre.
“It benefits us and other businesses in the surrounding area.”