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How Hull has progressed since the city was confirmed as UK City of Culture for 2017 five years ago today

20.11.18

How Hull has progressed since the city was confirmed as UK City of Culture for 2017 five years ago today feature image

It is five years since it was announced that Hull would be UK City of Culture for 2017 – a year which of course has now been and gone, putting the city firmly in the spotlight for its continuing progress and development. The year as City of Culture certainly changed perceptions outside the city, and garnered a new sense of pride and ambition within the city itself.

It is five years since it was announced that Hull would be UK City of Culture for 2017 – a year which of course has now been and gone, putting the city firmly in the spotlight for its continuing progress and development.

The year as City of Culture certainly changed perceptions outside the city, and garnered a new sense of pride and ambition within the city itself.

As a business firmly at the heart of Hull’s ongoing commercial development, Paul White, agency director at Garness Jones, looks at the physical legacy of that great year.

5 MAJOR STEPS FORWARD IN 5 YEARS Transforming Humber Street

It’s fair to say Humber Street has become a place to be in Hull - not just during the increasingly popular annual Humber Street Sesh music festival, but across the year as it has attracted a mix of high-quality restaurants, eateries, bars and shops.

An £80m redevelopment of the historic Fruit Market area of the city has been a true success, with old warehouses adapted for new use and local creative industries used to kick-start the rejuvenation.

A walk down Humber Street now leaves you feeling you are in a very modern, progressive city and it is a model to be replicated. The next step a £17m residential project which will add 101 new contemporary one, two and three bedroom homes and breathe yet more new life into the area, ensuring it is vibrant and alive at all times.

Last year it won the Great Street’ category at the Academy of Urbanism’s annual awards, an award which was truly deserved.

Modernising the city centre

Ok, it came with a bit of short term pain as Hull city centre was awash with orange barriers to protect the public from ongoing works as Hull City Council went about a £25m public realm regeneration project, but few could argue with the result today as we benefit from a much more pleasant city centre, large open spaces and even dancing water fountains.

The city centre is without doubt a much more attractive place to spend time, walk around and shop, and therefore it is now a more attractive place for retailers to invest going forward.

The city centre is key to Hull’s success, and it has been well documented over the years how developments outside of the centre have had a huge impact. This transformation will be key in ensuring a long term better future.

Improving the leisure and entertainment appeal

Over the past five years Hull City centre has made great strides forward in improving its entertainment and leisure offering – something which has been key to reviving an area which was increasingly deserted by shoppers.

We have seen both Princes Quay and St Stephens shopping centres recognise the importance of providing food, drink, entertainment and leisure alongside their retail offer.

Not only has a new outlet deck opened in Princes Quay, bringing a range of new shops to the city, but the centre has added tenpin bowling and laser tag facilities to complement its cinema.

Its new waterfront dining hub, developed as the second phase of the project, will provide more new restaurants and cafés.

Across the city St Stephens added the Gravity Trampoline Park in 2016 and followed up with the Rock Up climbing centre in 2017, two attractions which have proved very popular and continue to be so.

Garness Jones have also recently helped attract another entertainment facility to Hull for 2019 at the WORX on the corner of Beverley Road and Spring Bank, where a new indoor climbing centre will open next Spring.

There has also, of course, been major investment at Hull New Theatre, where a £12m redevelopment has made it better prepared to attract the bigger, more in demand touring shows, and the new £36m Bonus Arena, which seats just under 3,000 people and has recently ensure the city is able to attract top pop stars such as George Ezra. All the above have made Hull much more attractive to families looking for fun.

Trinity Market – forgotten and left into a foodie haven

Hull Trinity Market is a perfect example of what can be achieved when investment and innovation are focused on the right area and used to breathe new life into a historic city facility.

A £3m overhaul of the market, which had been unloved and undervalued for many years, saw it extensively refurbished before reopening in 2017 as a ‘foodie haven’, whilst it also continues to have stalls selling items such as clothes and jewellery.

Now offering a mix of stalls including street food stalls run by some of Hull’s best known and most popular restaurants, foods from across the world are available (you can even get pizza in a cone!), alongside freshly brewed local coffees.

The market has become a hive of activity at lunchtimes as local workers head out for lunch – keeping spend in the city and supporting local business.

Siemens - they built it, they came and continue to invest

When it was announced that global giant Siemens was to invest £310m in Hull by building a new manufacturing facility in the city, there were many saying ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’.

Since then, we have seen the business open up in September 2016, produce its first batch of 75 metre blades before the end of the year, and then of course deliver one such product to the city centre to wow crowds as part of the City of Culture ‘Blade’ exhibition – a live example of manufacturing and its impact in the city and one which inspired so many.

Hundreds of jobs have been created as a result of Siemens heading to Hull and of course there is further investment in the region to come with the announcement of another development, this time in Goole, with a state-of-the-art train factory which will create up to 700 jobs. A great example to all other international and national manufacturers that Hull is a great place to do business.

**BUILDING ON THE MOMENTUM…SO WHAT’S NEXT?

Here we take a look at the next three big steps forward on the agenda for Hull

Yorkshire Energy Park** We were delighted at Garness Jones to be appointed to secure additional national and international end users at the proposed £200 million Yorkshire Energy Park, with the aim of attracting significant inward investment to the Humber region and a development which potentially create more than 4,000 jobs.

If given the go ahead by planners, it will see a 212-acre site transformed to include an energy centre and linked substation, a data storage centre, a mix of units for different business use, education, training and research facilities, an outdoor building and materials testing centre and revamped sports facilities for amateur clubs who are already based there. Surely not an opportunity to missed!?

King William House – another mix of retail, leisure and accommodation for city centre A £6m transformation of this ionic but empty building into a mixed residential, retail and leisure complex will provide a blueprint for the future of Hull’s city centre.

In our role marketing the development on behalf of developers, we have seen interest from leisure attraction operators who would be completely new to Hull and would make the development a real destination location.

The development of 30 one and two-bedroom apartments over the first, second and third floors, an arcade of nine retails units will be created on the ground floor fronting Market Place and the leisure aspect will reflect what has been achieved already on Humber Street. Success comes with a real mix of quality workspace, accommodation and leisure and that is what we will see here by the time the development completes.

Linking city centre with waterfront and improving road networks It seems to have taken forever, but just last week work finally officially started on construction of a £12 million bridge over Castle Street in Hull. The pedestrian footbridge, which will be accessible to cyclists and wheelchair users also, will cross the A63 between Princes Dock and Hull Marina, finally providing a link between city centre and waterfront and helping improve traffic flow on one of the busiest and most important routes in the city, out towards the docks. The overall project is scheduled to be completed in early 2020 – so disruptions are inevitable and patience may again be needed as with the city centre improvements, but this project will certainly be worth some short term pain for the city’s long-term gain.