The Royal Hotel in Forfar is back in business with a new owner.
After years of neglect and numerous public calls for work to be done on the decaying facade, Forfar businessman Don Stewart has stepped up to the challenge of restoring the town centre building to its former glory.
Scaffolding will be erected next week as work begins in earnest from the outside in.
The facade will be tackled, followed by the re-opening of the nightclub and bar at the rear of the premises, before the hotel rooms are given a make-over.
Mr Stewart, the publican at the Old Mason’s Arms and Bar Central in the town, told the ‘Dispatch and Herald’ he had had the hotel “under his radar” for some time.
He said: “This was the last chance to do something with this building. It would not have lasted another winter.
“Eventually it is going to be a hotel again and we’ll have to see how things go.
“We will get the nightclub operating and then go into the main building for the function suite, then the gymnasium and the spa.”
Preliminary work has already begun on the inside of the building although no date has been set for the nightclub’s re-opening.
Mr Stewart continued: “The previous owner just let the place go.
“It has been asset stripped and there’s nothing left of the hotel as it was.
“There has been a lot of talk about turning the hotel into flats but there are a lot of flats for sale in Forfar, there are no hotels, it is as simple as that. I want to get it back to what it was to benefit the town.”
The doors at the hotel closed in 2010 and since then there have been numerous calls, led by Forfar Community Council and local elected members, for work to be carried out on the building, which has turned into an eyesore.
Repeated calls were made for the owner to maintain the building, with the state of the pend and the canopy at the front of the building coming in for strong criticism.
Community Councillors repeatedly asked for the previous owners to step in to deal with the building.
Over the years the hotel has been the talk of the town with a number of interested parties passing on the chance to buy. Last October hopes were high that someone would step in to snap up the Castle Street building when it was due to go under the hammer at a public auction with a £200,000 reserve price, but it failed to sell.