Alan Johnson takes an in-depth look at the regeneration revolution that is putting Hull back on the map…
OPEN FOR BUSINESS Alan Johnson takes an in-depth look at the regeneration revolution that is putting Hull back on the map. Hull is at a hugely exciting point in its history with over £1bn of investment transforming the city. Successful icon developments, such as the Deep and the Kingston Communications Stadium, are indicators of the vibrancy Hull is now experiencing and business confidence has never been higher.
A recent Westminster Parliamentary Reception was hosted by the 3 Hull MP’s – myself, John Prescott and Kevin McNamara, to showcase the city and the East Riding to senior figures from the South-East including developers, venture capitalists, financiers and investors. It was a successful event and many of those who came expressed their surprise at what the city/region had to offer.
A significant stage in the strategy is imminent as Hull City Council, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Cityimage (Hull’s marketing Partnerships) have announced their intention to create a DMO (Destination Management Organisation) to highlight the investment, visitor, student and relocation opportunities of the area.
This is a landmark development of a city-region pushing aside political boundaries in a common aim to promote synergy, harness resources and create a clear, distinctive message for potential customers. The offering of this the city-region, a unique area of vibrant city, stunning coastline and beautiful countryside expresses an appealing yet largely undiscovered competitive advantage.
Hull is striving to be a top 10 city in everything it does and regeneration and renaissance have been palpable over the last two years. Since 2002, Hull has had its own Urban Regeneration Company (URC), Hull Citybuild Ltd. The company is working with its partners; Hull City Council, Yorkshire Forward and English Partnerships driving forward the City Centre Masterplan, an investment framework that is delivering a massive physical face-lift. If the city succeeds in these aspirations it will see £1.4 billion of private sector investment, £240 million of residential investment, 3,000 new homes, 5,200 new office, retail and leisure jobs and 4,500 additional people living in the city centre over the next 10 years.
The masterplan covers 5 areas of Hull’s city centre: Humber Quays, a spectacular waterfront location giving Hull an eye-catching modern development. The mixed-use development including residential, public realm and office developments will create a vibrant community. This area includes Island Wharf , the first Citybuild project; a prime office site with waterfront views is due for completion later this year. The Fruit Market , a place of character with a mix of Old Town Charm and contemporary studio spaces, restaurants, leisure and arts.
Also includes the restoration of the dry dock. East Bank providing a large residential community overlooking the award winning Museums Quarter, maximising River Hull waterfront opportunities, with a location close to The Deep. Albion Square, offering a lively quarter set around a new public square, spanning office, leisure, cultural and civic use. Quay West , offering an extension of Prince’s Quay, a strong retail circuit with complementary office, residential and leisure uses.
Already new buildings are taking shape and changing the skyline of Hull, creating jobs and stimulating the city centre economy, and this growth will continue as Citybuild rolls-out its 15-year long-term strategy for the city. The city centre is buzzing, as more and more people choose to set up home in the heart of Hull. City living has gone from virtually nil 2 years ago to over 1,000 new units to date – some are refurbishments of elegant old waterside wharfs, others are completely new developments.
This has led to a number of new bars, restaurants and shops, including Hull’s first Michelin starred restaurant – Venn. The further renaissance of the city is sure to spur a further growth in such developments and create a vibrant, 24-hour society. Recent successes in Hull’s dazzling renaissance include: -
• £45.5 m The Deep Millennium project, welcomes as many visitors as London Zoo and is the second most successful Millennium project. It has placed Hull, well and truly on the tourist map. Designed by Sir Terry Farrell, this iconic Submarium, tells the story of the world’s oceans, and has already begun a second phase of expansion of £6.5 m extension, to cope with burgeoning visitor demand and take it to its next exciting stage.
• £43.5 m Kingston Communications Stadium is home for two of the city’s professional teams, the recently promoted Hull City AFC and Super League Hull RLFC. The 25,000-seater stadium has already welcomed Sir Elton John, Bryan Adams, Blue and two international Under 21’s football matches through its gates. Funded entirely by Hull City Council, this much loved Stadium began its illustrious career completely debt free and plays an integral role in the fabric of the local community and is playing a vital role in the physical and social regeneration of the West Hull area.
• £30 m of PFI investment went towards creating a state of the art Acute Maternity and Gynaecology centre for the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The Maternity Hospital provides a full range of maternity services, 85 beds, 16 delivery suites, 38 neo natal special care baby unit cots and five theatres. It is one of the most advanced specialist NHS units in the country, offering comprehensive care facilities for mothers and babies across the region.
• £25 m BBC Regional Centre opened during 2004 and is the first new regional centre for many years. It will increase and improve the innovative broadcasting initiatives in Hull with a new broadcasting and digital training centre, using Kingston Communications unique interactive broadband technology. As well as offering Headstart, an education initiative to support learning in the classroom, the new centre includes cyber café and training facilities for the general public. The new state of the art centre has both Television and Radio broadcasting from its new Hull base, right in the heart of the city.
• £175 m St Stephen’s development comprises a brand new state of the art transport interchange system designed by Wilkinson Eyre. St Stephens’ is the second largest mixed use city centre regeneration project within the UK, led by ING Real Estate; this huge project will feature retail, leisure and housing and provide a new home for the world renowned Hull Truck Theatre. The development also includes an innovative, integrated transport interchange that will provide new state of the art facilities for travelers in and around the Hull area.
• £50 m LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust). Two Primary Care Trusts in Hull have won £30m of LIFT funding to redevelop the city’s primary care health premises. Working in partnership with the private sector through the Sewell Group, the capital programme will deliver state of the art facilities across the city over the next 25 years.
• £165m Humber Quays is a prime office-led waterfront development, taking full advantage of the stunning waterside views. The scheme includes a major new public plaza and promenades will encourage visitors and residents to enjoy the continuous riverside walkway and buildings and create a new location for cultural facilities in the city.
• £22 m Hull York Medical School. A joint venture created between Hull and York universities that will provide a total of 650 medical places, with the first students commencing their studies in 2003.
This is a time of great change in Hull – we want the business community to know that one of England’s best kept secrets is well and truly open for business and heading towards its goal of being a top 10 UK city.