The local partners driving forward the regeneration of Hull’s Fruit Market today (April 20) revealed their vision for the £80m transformation of the city’s cultural and creative quarter.
Regeneration company Wykeland Group and residential developer Beal Homes said the rejuvenation of the Fruit Market would see £70m of privately-funded development in Hull’s most significant urban regeneration project.
The two long-established Hull companies have formed a joint venture company, Wykeland Beal, to breathe new life into the Fruit Market, in partnership with Hull City Council.
Wykeland Beal said its vision for the Fruit Market was:
“A unique, vibrant, cultural quarter where people live, work and play.”
The ambition is to create an “urban village” featuring business, arts, culture, retail and leisure uses, together with new, mews-style homes, in and among the waterside district’s warehouses and cobbled streets.
The transformation will create new, independent shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants in an area that will take centre stage during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017 and beyond.
The exciting plans for the Fruit Market were revealed for the first time today at presentations open to all the businesses in the area, with the vision illustrated by a video produced by Nova Studios, the Hull film-makers behind the “This City Belongs To Everyone” video used in Hull’s successful City of Culture bid.
The video was filmed in Hull and in areas of London such as Shoreditch, Carnaby Street and Borough Market, which are among the inspirations for the Fruit Market vision.
Business owners already based in the Fruit Market were encouraged to adopt the new Fruit Market branding and “Produce of Hull” brand message and become ambassadors for the area’s exciting rejuvenation, including by joining a stakeholder group working closely with Wykeland Beal.
The development masterplan defines the Fruit Market for the first time as an area bounded to the south, east and west by water, and by Castle Street to the North.
Regeneration work currently under way in the Fruit Market includes a £1.5m public realm scheme on Humber Street, which is part of Hull City Council’s £25m programme across key city centre sites and is due to be completed by September 2016.
Work is also well under way creating new and refurbished commercial, retail and leisure space focused on Humber Street. The initial phase of 20,000 sq ft of refurbished commercial space will be available for shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries, with the first 13 units on Humber Street and Pier Street, ranging in size from 350 to 2,900 sq ft, available to let soon for occupation by mid-late summer.
Wykeland Beal revealed that one of the first lettings would be for a new dining venue called Butler Whites created by the people behind the Larkin’s and Henry Yeast restaurant/bars in Hull’s Newland Avenue.
Further refurbished or new-build commercial units will become available over time, with the timing dependent on demand.
The regeneration project also includes 109 one, two and three bedroom homes arranged in mews style around private courtyards. A planning application for the new homes is due to be submitted next month and, subject to the granting of planning consent, construction of the residential part of the development is expected to start towards the end of 2016, with all the homes due to be delivered by 2019.
There are also major longer-term opportunities from the development of two large strategic sites, for which Wykeland Beal has a development agreement. These are on the site of the former Bonus Electrical offices and trade counter and a site previously occupied by the Pepi’s nightclub by the Marina lockgates.
The plans were revealed following a “guerrilla” marketing graffiti campaign in the Fruit Market promoting how “Change is happening” in the area and the appearance of hoardings signposting the regeneration work.
Dominic Gibbons, Managing Director of Wykeland, which is itself based in the Fruit Market, said: “With unprecedented investment in Hull and the City of Culture year just months away, Hull really is on the up.
“We’re setting out our vision today, but it’s important to stress this is being delivered here and now. In fact, almost £20m of development has been completed or is under construction within the Fruit Market area.
“This unique and historic area of the city will become a welcoming and friendly place to live, a creative and entrepreneurial area to work and a vibrant destination to visit, for local people and tourists alike.
“We’re hugely excited about realising the Fruit Market’s potential and we’re really keen for the existing commercial and cultural community in the area to work with us to create something extraordinary.”
Beal Homes Chairman and Managing Director Richard Beal said: “The Fruit Market is a truly unique part of the city. It complements the city centre with a character and diversity all of its own.
“This is about much more than physical development. Our vision is about both place and lifestyle. We have an opportunity to create a new heartbeat for a thriving city; a place for everyone – residents, workers and visitors – to live, work and play.
“The residential development will create an opportunity for people to live in an area alive with culture and creativity. We have received more than 200 enquiries about residential opportunities in the Fruit Market, even though we have yet to carry out any marketing activity. That demonstrates the appeal of the area as a place to live.”
Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council said: “A vision for the Fruit Market was developed by the Council, in partnership with Wykeland Beal, to ensure that this unique and historic area is regenerated, maintained and contributes to delivering a world-class visitor destination for the UK City of Culture and beyond, paving the way for future economic prosperity.
“I am confident that this multi-million pound development will boost the revitalisation of the city centre and create a cluster for arts, independent retail, leisure and digital and creative industries”.
The Fruit Market has been an area of economic activity for 200 years and was the centre of the city’s wholesale fruit and vegetable trade until 2009. In recent years it found a new role as the heart of the city’s vibrant festival scene and as an artistic and cultural hub.
The latest plans build on a wave of investment, including Wykeland’s £15m @TheDock development, which features the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub and Stage @TheDock, a 350-seat amphitheatre, currently under construction. Stage @TheDock will be the only new permanent venue created in the city before 2017.
Recent years have also seen Wykeland’s £3.5m purchase and refurbishment of Marina Court, to make it a leading centre for professional services, and the success of the award-winning 1884 Dock Street Kitchen, which has won plaudits for its high-quality décor and cuisine. The area’s resurgence has also attracted a host of new ventures and is now home to 70 businesses.
Mr Gibbons said the commercial units would be occupied by an eclectic but complementary mix of independent and bespoke outlets contributing to a sustainable 24/7 economy.
He added: “Wykeland Beal is determined to create something that is truly distinctive, inspired by other places but uniquely Hull. That will be reflected in the range of businesses and cultural outlets that will re-animate this special place.”
Wykeland and Beal each have almost 50 years history as private, locally owned and managed businesses, with exemplary track records in delivering high-quality residential, commercial and retail schemes.