TENNIS ace Andy Murray has bought a luxury hotel close to his home town, promising to create new jobs and support local businesses.
The Scottish star has acquired Cromlix House Hotel, near Dunblane, for around £1.8 million and plans to transform the Victorian mansion where his brother Jamie got married in 2010 into a 15-room five-star destination.
The Perthshire hotel, which closed down a year ago, will undergo extensive refurbishment before re-opening next spring ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles.
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Murray claims the venture will create around 40 jobs for the local community, as well as generating "significant" custom for other businesses nearby.
He said: "I am pleased to have acquired Cromlix House and look forward to securing its future as a successful business.
"By re-establishing Cromlix as a leading luxury hotel at the heart of the Dunblane community we will be able to attract new visitors to the area, create a number of new jobs and focus on supporting other local firms.
"I'm pleased to be able to give something back to the community I grew up in."
The move has been welcomed by local councillor Graham Houston, who said it was great to see Murray using his success to help the area.
Mr Houston said: "I'm delighted the hotel has been brought back into operation because it will create very welcome jobs and business opportunities for the local area.
"It's wonderful to see a hotel of that stature opening up again and it will provide a good economic offering to our tourism and leisure sector.
"As a town, we've always been very proud of Andy's success and it's now great to see him using that success to generate jobs and business in the area."
Councillor Mark Ruskell added: "Cromlix House is much missed and there will no doubt be welcome spin-off opportunities for local businesses to supply weddings and other events when it opens back up."
Murray is following in the footsteps of his fellow Scot, racing driver David Coulthard, who owns hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Formula 1 star opened the Dakota Hotels range in 2005 with Scottish hotelier Ken McCulloch, founder of the Malmaison group.
The refurbished Cromlix House will feature a Chez Roux restaurant, backed by renowned chef Albert Roux, owner of Le Gavroche in London, the first UK restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars.
It will be managed on Murray's behalf by Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI).
Norbert Lieder, ICMI's managing director, said: "We are delighted to be working with Andy in this exciting project to redevelop and run Cromlix House. Our team of experts has experience in every aspect of the hospitality industry and specialise in working with independent properties and transforming them into luxurious destinations.
"I am confident that, with Andy, we can create a special hotel in his home community. While we aim to create a destination that attracts visitors from around the world we are also determined to ensure it remains a venue of choice for local people."
The venue, less than five miles from Dunblane, is situated in the Perthshire countryside in 50 acres of secluded woodlands and gardens.
It has been a popular wedding venue over the years and Jamie Murray married Alejandra Gutierrez there in 2010.
However, the hotel is understood to have hit financial problems and was forced to close in February last year. It has remained vacant since and was being marketed jointly by estate agents Savills and Knight Frank at offers over £1.8m.