Multi-million pound Inverness city centre retail redevelopment welcomes first tenant

Union Court, the Inverness retail redevelopment that has been hailed by city leaders as the catalyst for the ongoing regeneration of the city centre, has announced that it is to welcome its first tenant in the form of high profile womenswear brand, Prickly Thistle. The Highlands’ based company – which is Scotland’s first and only B Corp Certified textiles mill and clothing manufacturer, claiming to be the world’s most ethical women’s clothing brand – has signed a new lease to take one of the six new commercial units within Union Court. Their new store will open in the run up to Christmas.

Speaking about attracting the high profile tenant, Stuart Pender, of Union Court developer, Swilken Estates, commented:

“We are delighted to welcome such a high profile brand as the first tenant for Union Court. We believe we have created the most prestigious retail development in Inverness, reflected by the ability to attract an internationally-known brand like Prickly Thistle.

“With restored stone facade, original shopfronts and an interior level of finish that raises the bar for retail space in the location, we are looking forward to welcoming further tenants to Union Court in 2024.”

Ahead of opening later in December, Prickly Thistle founder, Clare Campbell, said:

““We are delighted to open our first permanent UK store here in the Highlands and bring our artisanal sustainable women’s clothing from local makers to the city. We have been searching for a location for our first store for some time and we thought, like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz – there’s no place like home.

“We’re really excited to launch our flagship store in Union Court, which is a beautiful building of historic importance to the city. We are confident our cool, ethically and Highlands made fabric and clothes will appeal to locals and tourists alike. We are also really excited to join fellow B Corp brands in the city centre, such as the Black Isle Brewery.”

Union Court is the landmark retail development at 7-17 Union Street on the site of the former Arnotts store. The development by Swilken Estates, which saw the listed buildings on Union Street (1863) and Baron Taylor’s Street (1892) sympathetically restored has garnered praise from leading local figures with Drew Hendry MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, commenting:

“A project like this which has real architectural merit – restoring a fondly thought of building to its former glory, revitalising Union Street and Baron Taylor’s Street – could be a real catalyst for further regeneration in the city centre area.”

Union Court is one of the largest retail projects witnessed in the city centre in recent years. Set to become the Highland capital’s most prestigious retail destination, the development has garnered praise from leading local figures. As well as revitalising a neglected quarter of the centre, the development of Union Court secured up to 200 jobs during the construction phase.

With five high quality retail units still available, via the joint letting agents Graham + Sibbald and Ewan Mackay, John MacBean, Partner at Graham + Sibbald, is inviting expressions of interest:

“We look forward to discussing this exciting opportunity to join Prickly Thistle with potential occupiers from the retail and hospitality sphere. Union Court’s exquisitely presented self-contained units are suitable for a variety of uses – with permission granted for Class 1 (Retail), Class 2 (Financial & Professional Services) and Class 3 (Sale of food or drink for consumption on the premises) – and occupy a prominent site in Inverness’s bustling city centre, just off the soon to be redeveloped Academy St.”