A SMITTEN solicitor has told how he felt compelled to save a building from ruin after he “fell in love with it”.
The Cross Keys Hotel in High Street, Dalkeith, has undergone a £750,000 make-over after being taken over by property lawyer Mark Hendrie.
The 1804 building served for many decades as a hub for visitors and tradesmen, but after lying empty for many years had slid into disrepair.
However, now it has been given a fresh lease of life, having been converted into flats and retail space, which has been taken up by budget supermarket chain Costcutter.
Mr Hendrie, who lives in West Linton, said: “My dad is a builder and developer, so when the Cross Keys came on the radar we decided to have a look. I remember my dad shaking his head in disappointment when he saw the state the place had fallen into.
“We both saw what a beautiful old building it was and how much potential it had, we really just fell in love with it.”
The restoration was partly funded by a £300,000 grant from the Dalkeith THI/CARS project, which is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Midlothian Council and Dalkeith Business Renewal.
Project manager Rod Lugg said: “Another few years without intervention and the building would have been beyond repair. A vital piece of Dalkeith’s heritage has been restored and it wouldn’t have happened without Mark Hendrie’s enthusiasm and vision.”
However, Mr Hendrie insisted his father deserved the plaudits for making the dream overhaul a reality.
He said: “I would never have taken this project on without knowing my dad was behind me. It was a risky proposition and it’s not been easy – there were a lot of hidden costs and the project ended up six figures over budget – but it was a real labour of love, and we’re really pleased with how it turned out.”
Donald Marshall, chairman of the Dalkeith THI/CARS project team, said: “The work has been carried out with great care and attention to detail, ensuring that the historic and architectural quality of the building has been restored and enhanced.”