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PICTURE SPECIAL: First sneak peek at Union Court, the prestigious new Inverness retail development, planned for completion in autumn 2022; developers Swilken Estates predict the Union Street and Baron Taylor’s Street renovation will create the Highlands' most sought-after shopping destination

By Alasdair Fraser

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A transformative Inverness retail development set to breathe new life into the city centre will be known as Union Court.

With work to be completed by autumn 2022, the £12.5 million regeneration of the former Arnott’s department store is aimed at revitalising Union Street and Baron Taylor’s Street to create the Highlands’ most prestigious retail destination.

Major renovation work is well underway and will see six new commercial units built, with four on Union Street and two accessed from the historic thoroughfare of Baron Taylor’s Street


There, large glass windows and a new entrance will be designed to provide a focal point.

An eye-catching building wrap currently envelopes the work at 7-17 Union Street, but the developer has now released the first artists’ impressions of the planned interior and exterior, using computer-generated images (CGI).

They reveal a series of bright, contemporary spaces suitable for retail, café, restaurant and office use, complete with features such as spiral wrought-iron staircases and exposed brick walls.

Union Court will also boast a series of fully restored features, such as the original façade and shop fronts on Union Street.

The existing buildings at 33-41 Baron Taylor’s Street - including one of the earliest steel framed buildings in Scotland - will form an important part of the retail space.

Developed by Swilken Estates, Union Court is one of the largest retail projects witnessed in the city centre in recent years and has garnered praise from leading local figures.

As well as revitalising a neglected quarter of the centre, the development will secure up to 200 jobs during the construction phase.

Inverness-based IBI Joiners has been appointed as principal contractor with the work of local tradesmen and contractors to be showcased on the project.

• RELATED STORY: Highland Council in city centre project buyout as it takes over the former Arnotts building

Swilken Estates’ director Stuart Pender said: “We are delighted with progress made in the first six months of our project to renovate and restore this beautiful building on Union Street, which is playing a key role in the regeneration of the city centre.

“Once completed, Union Court will become the most prestigious retail address in Inverness offering tenants the flexibility required to meet today’s retail and hospitality market.

“There is a trend in today’s market towards retail and hospitality tenants looking for space with their own dedicated front door.

“Union Court will not only offer this but will provide quality accommodation in a recently renovated building which includes a full restoration of the stone facade and a return to the original shop fronts, with a level of finish that raises the bar for retail and hospitality accommodation in the city.”

John MacBean, a partner at Graham + Sibbald, the commercial agent for Union Court, said: “Union Court’s exquisitely presented self-contained units will add significantly to the Inverness city centre experience.

“These high quality, flexible units are set to meet the current demand for business owners who want to have their own dedicated access.

“Suitable for a variety of uses we look forward to discussing this exciting opportunity with new and existing potential occupiers in the city.”

The upper floors of the four-storey development will house 53 new apartments for long-term rental through Highland Council and Highland Housing Alliance, providing much needed housing within the city centre.

A new website for Union Court has been launched here

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