An award-winning hotel chain is poised to take over a landmark Perth building, raising hopes for scores of jobs and a million-pound boost to the local economy.
Henley Homes, the firm behind the Rogue City Hotel Group, has emerged as the preferred bidder for the former district court at the corner of High Street and Tay Street.
The company runs the five-start Dunalastair Hotel Suites in Kinloch Rannoch, as well as the Wellington in Glasgow and The Hobson in Cambridge.
Bosses want to turn the turreted Fair City property into a boutique hotel. The redevelopment is expected to create more than 70 jobs, plus 112 construction posts locally.
If successful, the hotel could pump about £1.12 million a year into the Perth economy, with £1m of extra GVA (Gross Value Added).
It is understood nearly £2 million will be invested in the transformation.
Perth and Kinross Council, which said the B-listed property is now surplus to requirements, confirmed negotiations with the firm are under way.
Council leader Murray Lyle said: “The building really is one of Perth’s treasures and this project will bring it back to life, after it has sat mostly redundant for such a long time.”
The building, which overlooks the River Tay, is part of a larger complex of council offices that dates back to 1879.
Part of the property facing Tay Street was sold in the 1980s for flats and the rest was used by the council until 2011, when the district court moved to the sheriff court building and the council’s economic development service went to Pullar House.
It was used as operation headquarters for council officers during the G8 summit at Gleaneagles in 2005.
Chief Executive Karen Reid said a public consultation had revealed 63% were in favour of turning the building into a hotel.
“People in Perth want to see 1-5 High Street back in use, and their city thriving. An upscale boutique hotel will complement the existing accommodation offer, further support the evening economy and boost Perth and Kinross’s attractiveness as both an urban and a rural visitor destination.”
Nassar Khalil, Director of Hotels and Leisure at Henly Homes, and CEO of the Rogue City group, said: “We are very pleased to have been chosen as the preferred bidder for 1-5 High Street, a fantastic location in the heart of Perth, one of Scotland’s most enchanting cities and its original capital.
“As with all our hotels, our goals are to provide guests with design-led luxury accommodation, with exceptional service, comfort and convenience, and to form a special relationship with the local area.”
Perth City Centre councillor Eric Drysdale said the new development would “complement existing hotels and help attract additional visitors to Perth.”
He said: “At a time of such challenge for everyone, this is really a good news story for the future of Perth city centre.”