News and Blogs

1 December 2021
Hammonds of Hull a shining example of a modern mixed-use city centre development

By Paul White, Agency Director, Garness Jones

With its Christmas lights dazzling and Food Hall opening after much excitement and anticipation, the Hammonds of Hull development is a shining example to follow when it comes to continuing the transformation of our city centre.

Cast your mind back just over three years to when Hull was hit by the news that House of Fraser was to close its long-established retail operation, which had been based in the iconic city centre building for close to 50 years.

It was of course an announcement met with huge disappointment given it was truly the end of an era, and of course a decision which led to the loss of employment.

However, it was a situation which I personally felt at the time had been somewhat predictable, and actually reflected the impact of changing times on many long-established large retailers operating out of huge city centre buildings.

House of Fraser could no longer make that business model work, and we’ve seen further big name retailers follow suit since.

At no stage did I feel House of Fraser pulling out of Hull reflected badly on the city itself.

There had already been a collective shift in approach in Hull with regards to transforming our city centre offering, as we’d already seen our main two shopping centres, St Stephen’s and Princes Quay, begin to let out more space to leisure outlets such as tenpin bowling, trampoline centres and restaurants.

The Fruit Market had also started to prosper from creating a mix of modern office developments, housing, cafes, restaurants and bars.

And, as a commercial property agent who regularly speaks to potential investors and business owners, I was aware that Hull was still riding on the crest of a wave created by being the UK City of Culture a year earlier.

It was for that reason that when the press came to me asking for comment about House of Fraser (you can find the interviews on Google!), I steered away from the initial disappointment and looked for the positives in what the future could bring.

I genuinely believed we needed to take it as an opportunity to do something different and create something new.

I have to say the Hammonds of Hull development has surpassed my expectations and huge credit must go to the owners Redefine Paragon Square Hull Ltd, and also Hull City Council who have been so supportive of the project.

Development has created hundreds of jobs and helped business grow

At Garness Jones we were delighted to be appointed as commercial agents on the development, and to assist in 33,000 sq ft of office space being taken on the first floor by Hull-based outsourced contact centre specialist ResQ.

That deal provided an ambitious and successful local business with over 500 new agent stations, enabling it to grow and take on more staff to expand its partnership with telecoms giant Vodafone.

All eyes are now on the success of the new Food Hall, which kick-starts on Friday with weekend-long launch event featuring live music, local street food concessions and entertainment.

This element of the development has already created a further 200 jobs, is host to more than a dozen different venues, such as the Vinyl Lounge, the Tin Man Bar, 1821 Cocktail and Coffee and Vino Deli, and aims to attract two million visitors a year.

It promises ‘a vibrant collection of dining, organic grocery, retail, food, music and art offerings including artisanal food and beverage stations’ and will be host to music events from local artists.

Looking ahead, we have had excellent interest in the remaining space within the Hammonds of Hull complex, with interested parties in the entire 30,000 sq ft of the 2nd and 3rd floors and interest in 15,000 sq ft on the fourth floor.

Those negotiations continue positively and we are sure that, once open and attracting new visitors into the city, we will soon be making more positive announcements on this building’s future.

As an example of not dwelling on the past or on disappointments, looking to the future, trying something different, and being ambitious in what was being set out to achieve, Hammonds of Hull can provide the blueprint for our city centre’s future.

Hammonds of Hull a shining example of a modern mixed-use city centre development

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    Garness Jones is a trading name of Garness Jones (Commercial) Limited, registered in England and Wales – Registration No. 13088669

    The company is registered for VAT under reference 372 9009 88. Their registered address is Riverside House, 11-12 Nelson Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1XE.

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