A former school which educated the people of Blairgowrie for 150 years is being converted into an exclusive development of 18, high-quality apartments and houses.
The first of three phases of the Blair Hill development, on the site of the former Hill Primary School in the Perthshire town, has been completed and work has now started on the second phase.
The project is breathing new life into the Gothic, Category B Listed building, started in the late 19th Century on land formerly owned by the Church of Scotland, which has lain vacant since 2009.
It is being developed by the same team that created the award-winning Dun Aluinn on the site of a former boarding house in nearby Aberfeldy, which has been converted into a five-star, exclusive use venue.
With the entire project due to be completed next Spring, off-plan sales are already being processed with demand coming mainly from downsizers and week-end home buyers.
John Burke, Managing Director of Perthshire-based developer Crieff Construction, whose architect wife, Susie, drew -up the plans, said: “Typical buyers are individuals or couples who have sold bigger houses but don’t want to compromise on quality or design.
“The attraction for buyers coming in at this stage is that they can see the quality of the first phase properties, and they have the confidence to buy off plan.”
He added: “We will be working with them from here on to implement their own bespoke ideas for installing kitchens and bathrooms and choosing colours, tile designs and other finishings.
“Other adaptions, such as the inclusion of utility rooms and built-in wardrobes by Ashleigh Ann, can be made upon request.”
The school was built in three stages with the original two-storey, red sandstone block dating from 1878 when it was Blairgowrie High School. An extension was added in 1909 and another in the 1950s, to cope with post-war demand, when the school became Hill Primary.
It closed in 2009 after being replaced by a modern, purpose-built school in the town, and the site lay empty until 2016 when it was sold to Corryard by Perth and Kinross Council for £1.
The plan retains the external facias of the main Victorian building and Burke’s team has sought to retain as much of the original character of the former school as possible.
“We have managed to salvage some of the original features including internal steel windows within some the apartments and coat-hooks from the school cloakroom,” he said.
“The school has been part of the town’s fabric for the past century-and-a-half and it was important for us, as well as for the local community, that its character was not lost in the renovation.”
The first phase of seven properties in the 1950s extension has large bedrooms and full-length, south facing windows and balconies in beautifully landscaped communal grounds; along with two semi-detached houses with private gardens, in what was the school’s former dining hall.
Burke, whose company is a previous winner of Federation of Master Builders Award for Best Large Renovation and Conversion of the Year in the Scottish Home Awards, said: “They are substantial, three and four-bedroom New York-Style apartments of up to 220sq metres with many unique features and a focus on high, quality contemporary design.”
The second phase, covering original Victorian schoolhouse, will include a range of similar properties while the final phase will include renovation of the original Victorian schoolhouse.
Among the challenges faced by developers was the collapse of the main structure’s roof and an internal, gable-end wall last winter, which temporarily halted progress. Rebuilding work had not yet started and, fortunately, no-one was on site at the time.
With kitchens by Kitchens International, appliances by Siemens and bathrooms from Duravit and Fired Earth, with oak-wooden flooring by Boen, close attention has been paid to detail and quality.
Prices start at £185,000 for a one-bedroomed house and £245,000 for a two-bedroomed unit, while three-bedroomed homes ranging in price from are from £350,000 to £425,000
For more information contact Scottish Property Centre Shawlands on 0141 649 7979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org