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Garness Jones Reception
A thriving packaging design firm has relocated to Hull city centre after outgrowing its former premises at Priory Park.
SGS International is the world leader in the production and management of packaging communications, with more than 60 years' experience serving the print, retail and consumer goods markets.
SGS originally opened in Hull in 2005 and, following a string of prestigious contact wins, expanded into state-of-the-art premises in Priory Park in 2008.
However, last November, further success and a huge contract win from leading consumer products group, Procter & Gamble prompted the company to unveil a multi- million pound expansion plan.
As part of the plans, SGS announced it would be relocating to Hull in the new year, and increasing its staffing levels from 78 to 140.
Now, SGS's burgeoning workforce have moved into stunning premises in The Maltings.
The four-storey building, which used to be home to the former Hull Brewery, has lain dormant since 1985 when brewing ceased at the Victorian listed site.
It has been completely redeveloped by Hessle firm Allenby Commercial, with Red Frog Design (RFD), of Hull, responsible for the stunning interiors.
SGS managing director Brian McGrath said: "Having been awarded a further multi- million pound contract last year, which effectively quadruples turnover for SGS in Hull, we needed larger premises.
"We had initially looked everywhere but couldn't find the right premises to suit the business.
"There were lots of properties of about 5,000sq ft but we needed 15 to 18,000 sq ft."
Mr McGrath said he had initially been under pressure from the company to consider alternative locations overseas.
However, he said the new premises at Brewery House had not just met but exceeded all expectations.
He said: "I was asked whether we could do this in places such as Hong Kong or Manilla, but I opened SGS's first UK operation in Hull in 2005 and wanted to retain the fantastic skills we have here.
"Andy at Allenby Commercial has given us these fantastic premises and you only need to look around to see what a amazing job Alex at Red Frog has done.
"They have created an amazing showcase for the business and this is now the cornerstone of our whole operations."
Mr McGrath paid tribute to the Hull workforce, in particular site director Barbara Sharp, who he says has been key to the company's success.
He said: "Five years ago, SGS was purely an American- based business.
"Now we have a £350 million turnover and I expect the business to quadruple again. I am very proud of our Hull business and am proud to be in the city centre."
SGS has invested about £1.5 million in the building, and the interior combines cutting-edge design with original trinkets and memorabilia from the brewery, including bottles, barrels, beer pumps and photographs.
Alex Jenneson, design director at RFD, said: "We wanted to accentuate the heritage of the building so we spent months trying to track down original memorabilia, individually sourcing them from antique shops and collectors.
"We managed to source some that the owner initially didn't want to sell – until he found out they would be going back to their original home.
"Our aim was to show what can be achieved with modern thinking and a passion for interior architecture."
The building was being marketed jointly by PPH Commercial and Garness Jones.
Site director Barbara Sharp said: "We were introduced to the site by Dave Garness, however it had already come up on our radar when we were looking for suitable buildings.
"Our contractors wanted to achieve perfection – if not better – and they have done it perfectly. These premises are not only ideal for us now, they also give us plenty of room to expand.
"They are future proof."
Dave Garness said the move marked one of the biggest property transactions in the city for the past few years.
He said: "This was a huge property deal. SGS wanted good, grade A office space but had limited choices. Barbara is very proactive and worked with her staff to find the best solution.
"I don't think the city centre was their first choice, however they wanted to stay in Hull and the transformation of Brewery House has been incredible."
Lord Mayor Colin Inglis said: "SGS choosing Hull as a base shows confidence in the city as a place to live, work and do business. The company will join a number of other businesses based here that trade internationally, raising Hull's profile and helping with its regeneration."