Construction has begun on the largest development of its kind in Hull for more than half a century.
The £16m development will feature a prestigious new head office for Arco, the UK’s leading safety business, securing the company’s future in Hull and providing a platform for further growth for one of the city’s leading employers.
The start of building work also marks a major milestone in the £80m rejuvenation of the waterfront Fruit Market area, which is being transformed in one of the North of England’s most significant urban regeneration projects.
The Arco building will be the largest new-build office development for a dedicated user in the Hull area since the late 1960s and one of the biggest and most prestigious head office schemes currently taking place across the North of England. It has been supported with a grant of £1m from the Humber’s Local Growth Fund allocation through the Humber LEP’s Growing the Humber programme of business investment grants.
The construction project will also include a 350-space multi-storey car park, offering contract and pay and display spaces, to support Arco and its colleagues and the continued growth of the area as a magnet for business investment and visitors.
Later stages of development on the site will feature 34 residential units and 3,000 sq ft of retail/leisure space to continue the reinvention of the Fruit Market as a thriving urban village.
The scheme marks the latest major chapter in the exciting rejuvenation of the waterfront district being led by Wykeland Beal, the regeneration company formed by commercial developer Wykeland Group and housebuilder Beal Homes, as part of the Fruit Market LLP joint venture with Hull City Council.
Wykeland Beal has worked closely with Arco to develop the scheme and enable the company to relocate from its existing head office in Waverley Street, which has been purchased by Hull City Council to support the planned A63 Castle Street improvement scheme and regeneration and investment in the city centre.
Dominic Gibbons, managing dDirector of Wykeland Group, said: “This development is enormously significant for Hull and the wider region. “There hasn’t been a new office building of this size in Hull for a single user for more than 50 years and the development will see a showpiece facility of exceptional quality and prestige occupying a key, strategic site. The new multi-storey car park is also much needed to support Arco and its staff and the Fruit Market community.
“We’re delighted one of the city’s most successful and respected businesses has chosen the Fruit Market for the next chapter in its rich history.”
The new head office will see family-owned Arco return to its roots in the Fruit Market where the business opened its first shop in Queen Street, just yards from the development site, in 1893.
In a further twist, the development also harks back to the construction of Arco’s current head office, which was completed in 1961 by L. H. Beal & Son, a predecessor company of Beal Homes, with Beal Homes founder John Beal working on site during the project. It means the relationship between two family-owned Hull businesses, dating back almost 60 years, will help to secure the future of Arco in Hull for generations to come.
Richard Beal, chief executive of Beal Homes, said: “The regeneration of the Fruit Market has been a prime example of successful urban renewal and place making. The new Arco building and associated development will build on that success and take it to a whole new level.
“Arco’s current head office was built by Beal and has served the business well for many years, so we’re excited to be working again with the company’s owners and management team to deliver their fantastic new home.
“It’s great that three local, family-owned businesses have come together to deliver one of Hull’s most prestigious developments in generations.”
Hessle-based PDR Construction is the principal contractor for the project, which is due to be completed by the end of 2020, enabling around 550 Arco staff to move into their new home.
The 58,500 sq ft, five floor building will have a contemporary look and feel, with social meeting areas, a glass fronted atrium and an auditorium for staff and customer presentations. It has been designed to enhance the existing environment and blend with neighbouring buildings, including the @TheDock tech campus and its centrepiece, the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI).
David Evison, managing director of Arco, said: “This is a significant step forward for Arco, as we continue to invest in the growth of the business. The new head office will provide us with the facilities and the work environment to meet our needs into the future.
“We’ve taken this opportunity to create a modern workplace that has been designed to ensure our colleagues thrive and new talent emerges. Features such as open plan, collaborative workspaces, social meeting areas, a glass fronted atrium and an auditorium for colleague presentations will boost our company culture and drive employee engagement.
“We’re particularly pleased that our new head office will support the regeneration of Hull’s Fruit Market, to ensure the city remains vibrant and commercially successful. Our second National Distribution Centre, which is on track to open at the end of this year, is further proof of our dedication to investing in the continued growth of the region and to build on our long heritage in Hull.”
As well as cementing Arco’s future in Hull, the development will create around 200 jobs during the construction phase and provide a further major boost for the regeneration of the Fruit Market and the economy of Hull city centre.
Coun Daren Hale, Hull City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Investment and Regeneration, said: “The Arco relocation is a major part of our long-term vision for the city centre, key to both the regeneration and investment that continues to take place on the Fruit Market.
“The Fruit Market is a key part of the city centre and Arco moving its head office and 550 staff there will be a significant boost to the area and all the fantastic businesses that operate there.
“Arco is a nationally recognised and respected company with its foundations firmly in Hull. We are delighted that this decision shows that the company’s future is also in the city.”
The revival of the Fruit Market is creating one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing communities in the North of England. An area which was largely derelict just a few years ago has been reinvented as a thriving commercial, creative and residential community.
Chair of the Humber LEP, Lord Chris Haskins, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this significant development in the Fruit Market area of Hull. Arco is an important Hull business and it is great to see it going from strength to strength.
“Not only will this investment secure the future of the business and its employees in Hull, but it will continue to support the ongoing job creation that we are seeing as Arco grows. It will contribute greatly to the ongoing rejuvenation of the Fruit Market area.”
Property expert Nick Pearce, director of East Yorkshire-based PPH Commercial, said: “This is the largest office development of any kind in Hull for three decades and a major vote of confidence in the city.
“Ensuring Arco remains in the city within an iconic office complex is hugely important for Hull and the wider area and will enhance the ongoing regeneration of the Fruit Market and the city centre.
“The multi-storey car park will also provide much-needed facilities for residents, visitors and office and leisure occupiers within the Fruit Market.”