Falkirk’s historic Arnotdale House is ready and waiting for a new occupier.
The building is the former home of solicitor James Russel and, more famously, Robert Barr of Irn-Bru fame and Falkirk-born billionaire Robert Dollar, who bequeathed it and the grounds to the town.
Its condition has deteriorated over recent years but has benefited from a major make-over to make it fit for almost any purpose.
Now prospective developers have been challenged by Falkirk Council to step in and complete the job.
The grand two-storey building in Dollar Park has been empty since Age Concern Falkirk reluctantly pulled out in 2006 because it could no longer afford the maintenace bills.
Rather than allow it to fall down, Falkirk Council recognised the importance of the property and its connection to Robert Dollar, Falkirk’s answer to Andrew Carnegie, and found the cash to preserve it.
Since then the My Future’s In Falkirk 10-year economic development initiative has seen £700,000 invested in extensively refurbishing the outside of the impressive Victorian mansion.
The work has included replacing the windows, tackling rot and completing repairs to the stonework, roof, gutters and down pipes.
Some modernisation has also been carried out inside, but the bulk of that has been put on hold to allow any new tenant to finish things off to their own design.
Now it is available on a long lease at a negotiable rent and a rates bill of under £15,000 a year.
The council boasts Arnotdale House offers potential occupiers an excellent opportunity to lease one of the district’s most important buildings.
A spokesman confirmed: “Subject to the usual planning consents any Grade B listed building would have, the new tenants would have pretty much a blank canvas to work from.
‘‘The building has been thrown open to the market place and the council is determined to be as flexible as possible with regards to its future use.”
Labelled a ‘top dollar property’ the council had hoped business would have rushed at the chance to move in.
But the harsh economic reality of recent times has meant that, while interest has been encouraging, a deal still appears to be some way off.
However Douglas Duff, the council’s head of economic development and environmental services, remains optimistic.
This week he insisted: “Arnotdale House is a flexible building with attractive features and suitable for a wide range of occupiers. It offers 4000 square feet of space over two floors, parking for up to 18 cars and substantial grounds.’’