Progress in the bid to restore the iconic Russell Institute building.
Bid to restore iconic building making progress
Renfrewshire Council is making progress in its efforts to bring one of Paisley’s architectural gems back to life.
The iconic Russell Institute building has been put up for sale by its owners, the NHS, but needs substantial work.
Renfrewshire Council has been working with the Paisley Development Trust, a group of local volunteers dedicated to the regeneration of the town, to find a tenant.
An organisation has been lined up to move into the former health centre – but the deal is conditional on funding being secured to pay for the restoration work.
The council has applied for a Scottish Government regeneration grant to meet a chunk of the cost – and bosses will hear soon if they have been successful.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Russell Institute is an iconic site in the centre of Paisley but sadly it is in need of investment.
“We have an understanding with the NHS where – if we can help secure a tenant – the health service will dispose of the building.
“We are now waiting to hear whether the Scottish Government is willing to back the efforts of the community to bring this important building back into use.
“The council is determined to make use of the area’s superb architectural heritage – which has already been on show this month, having been commented on by many of the visitors we had for the Royal National Mòd.
“In terms of our wider efforts to make the most of the area’s built assets, this year has already seen Paisley Town Hall reopen after a major investment.
“We have also had the continuation of the Townscape Heritage Initiative, including public realm works in Causeyside Street and the restoration of Paisley Arts Centre.”
The Paisley Development Trust commissioned a feasibility study into the condition of the building, which formed the basis for the grant application.
Piero Pieraccini, the trust’s chair, added: “We would like to thank all the people who made a contribution to the funds for the feasibility study.
“We are delighted that there is a future for the building and hopefully we will be involved in that.”
The council is due to hear in November whether its stage-two application to the Scottish Government Regeneration Grant Fund has been successful. If not, other funding sources will be considered.
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.