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£4.5m Russell Institute revamp takes step forward

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The project to bring Paisley’s iconic Russell Institute back to life has taken another step forward, with the appointment of a contractor to lead the £4.5m restoration.

The A-listed former health centre has been vacant since 2011 and is in need of refurbishment, but Renfrewshire Council took ownership of the building from the NHS in February and is leading a project to turn it into offices.

Russell Institute 08

Skills Development Scotland has signed up to become anchor tenant when the building opens as a training and employability hub in 2016, bringing around 80 jobs into the town centre.

Staff from the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme to tackle unemployment and boost business will also move in.

Work on the restoration of the building – notable for its distinctive external sculptures – will start this summer and be led by Scottish contractor CBC.

A programme of detailed specialist surveys to establish the condition of the building has already taken place, ahead of what is expected to be a year-long refurbishment.

The work is being funded by the council, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Scotland. The Paisley Development Trust helped kick the project off by commissioning the initial feasibility study into its use.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Russell Institute is one of the jewels in Paisley’s architectural crown and has been one of the most distinctive buildings in the town centre for the best part of a century.

“We are thrilled to have been able to pull together a deal to bring it back to life and are glad the project is moving forward as planned.

“Paisley town centre has the second-highest concentration of listed buildings of anywhere in Scotland and we are committed to keeping them alive for future generations.

“Our Townscape Heritage Initiative and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in the town’s Causeyside area has already made a massive difference to the streets and buildings around the Russell Institute over the past three years.

“And there was further good news last month when we received news that we have been earmarked for almost £2m of Heritage Lottery Fund money for another Townscape Heritage scheme in the area around Paisley’s High Street.

“That architectural heritage is at the heart of everything we are doing with our ambitious plans to use Paisley’s culture and heritage to drive Renfrewshire’s regeneration, including a bid for UK City of Culture 2021.”

Tony Lawler, treasurer of Paisley Development Trust said, “We are really pleased to see that the Russell Institute has been saved. The people of Paisley spoke out and we started a process that has saved this iconic building. The revamp of the Russell is crucial to regeneration of our town centre and Paisley as whole.”

CBC Managing Director James McAlpine added: “We are delighted to be continuing our excellent relationship with Renfrewshire Council on the Russell Institute project.

“Following on from the successful refurbishment of the Town Hall, we look forward to conserving another of Paisley’s iconic buildings for future generations.”

The Russell Institute was opened in 1927 and was gifted to Paisley Burgh by Miss Agnes Russell, who wanted it to be used as a child welfare clinic as a memorial to her two brothers.

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Russell Institute reaches major milestone

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Plans to bring one of Paisley’s architectural treasures back to life have reached a major milestone with Renfrewshire Council officially taking ownership of the A-listed Russell Institute and signing up a long-term tenant.

Council bosses last week completed the transfer of title deeds for the former health centre from the NHS, having previously agreed to rent most of building to Skills Development Scotland.

Russell Institute 04

The council will now lead a £4.5m project to turn the iconic building – empty since 2011 and in need of major internal refurbishment – into modern office space.

It is expected that by summer 2016, SDS will move in as anchor tenants of the new training and employability hub, bringing around 80 new jobs into the town centre.

Staff from the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire scheme to tackle unemployment will also move into the revamped building.
The refurbishment work is being funded by the council, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Scotland.

The council will soon appoint a contractor for the restoration, which will see a number of employment opportunities for local residents.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan was given a tour of the building this week after agreeing a heads of terms agreement which will see SDS lease part of the building for 10 years.

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Councillor Macmillan said: “The Russell Institute is one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture in a town centre which has no shortage of landmark buildings.

“Council staff have been working away for a couple of years now on a plan to bring it back into use and we are delighted that is now coming to fruition.

“A year ago we unveiled a set of ambitious proposals intended to use Paisley’s outstanding heritage and cultural assets to transform the area’s future.

“The progress on the Russell Institute is one of the first visible signs of that transformation on what will be an epic journey of regeneration for the town.”

The Category A-listed Russell Institute sits on the corner of New Street and Causeyside Street and was opened in 1927.

It was gifted to Paisley Burgh by Miss Agnes Russell, who wanted it to be used as a child welfare clinic as a memorial to her two brothers.

The building is notable for the distinctive bronze and stone sculptures on the exterior walls.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Russell Institute plans set for another step forward

Russell Institute in paisley

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Russell Institute plans set for another step forward

Plans for a £5m refurbishment of one of Paisley’s finest buildings are about to take another step forward, with a team of experts set to be appointed to help lead the project.

The Category-A-listed Russell Institute is due to be brought back into use under plans being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council.

Russell Institute in paisley

The former health centre boasts some of Paisley’s finest architectural features but has been empty since 2011 and needs substantial work.

The NHS is willing to transfer ownership to the council, who are leading a project which aims to turn the building into modern office space by 2016.

Funding has already been offered by the Scottish Government and Historic Scotland towards the cost of the refurbishment.

Now, councillors have approved the award of a contract to a consultant and design team, to provide architectural and conservation expertise during the planned restoration work.

Renfrewshire Council Deputy Leader Michael Holmes, who chairs the council’s Procurement Sub Committee, has welcomed the latest development.

He said: “The project to restore the Russell Institute will be a complex one, which is why we are bringing in the expertise of specialist conservation architects.

“But if these plans – which could bring around 80 new office jobs into the town centre – come off, all the hard work will be worth it.

“Earlier this year we unveiled the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy, which plans to use the town’s outstanding collection of heritage and cultural assets to help drive a transformation of the whole Renfrewshire area.

“The council is delighted to be leading a project to bring one of those assets back into use and preserve it for generations to come.”

The Category A-listed Russell Institute sits on the corner of New Street and Causeyside Street and was opened in 1927.

It was gifted to Paisley Burgh by Miss Agnes Russell, who wanted it to be used as a child welfare clinic as a memorial to her two brothers.

The building is notable for the distinctive bronze and stone sculptures on the exterior walls.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][vc_column_text]For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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£2m boost for plans to restore Russell Institute

£2m boost for plans to restore Russell Institute.

Plans to restore one of Paisley’s architectural treasures to its former glory are taking a giant leap forward after Renfrewshire Council secured a £2million funding windfall.

The Russell Institute is one of the town’s most striking landmarks – but the former health centre is lying empty and needs work to be brought back into use.

The council has been working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on a plan to save the building, with the health board having gifted the Institute for the good of the community.

An organisation has been lined up to move in if funding to help pay for the revamp could be secured.

And a £2m application to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has now been given the green light.

Work to make the 1,750 sq m interior of the building suitable for modern office use is expected to take around two years, and could begin in summer 2014.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley’s stunning architectural heritage is one of the greatest features of the town.

“The Russell Institute is a magnificent building and a recognisable town centre landmark, and we are delighted to be able to help bring it back into use.

“This project will also bring significant economic and social benefits, by creating new jobs and allowing us to keep existing ones in the town centre, in addition to the jobs created during construction.

“This is just the latest stage in our continuing effort to make the best of the area’s built heritage, including the major revamp of Paisley Town Hall earlier this year.

“Plus, the £3.5m Townscape Heritage Initiative has seen major improvements to the Causeyside Street area, including restoration work on the Arts Centre.”

The council has been working with the Paisley Development Trust – a local group of volunteers dedicated to the regeneration of the town.

They initially commissioned a feasibility study into the building, which formed the basis for the grant application.

The trust’s chair Piero Pieraccini said: “This is fantastic news for the town and I am delighted to hear this money has been secured.

“This is a fantastic building which could have been left empty but this money will allow it to be brought back to life.”

The Category A-listed Russell Institute sits on the corner of New Street and Causeyside Street and was opened in 1927.

It was gifted to Paisley Burgh by Miss Agnes Russell, who wanted it to be used as a child welfare clinic as a memorial to her two brothers.

The building is notable for the distinctive bronze and stone sculptures on the exterior walls, and was used as a health centre until it closed in 2011.

Find out more by visiting the Paisley Development Trust Website.