Prominent developer Wykeland Group is leading the remarkable regeneration of its home city of Hull, with a series of multi-million pound investments.
Wykeland is one of Yorkshire and the Humber’s leading commercial developers and is a key player in a raft of major schemes in Hull as the city enjoys unprecedented regeneration after gaining national and international exposure as UK City of Culture 2017.
The focal point for the city’s rejuvenation is the waterfront Fruit Market quarter. Once a near-derelict area, the Fruit Market took centre stage during the City of Culture year and is being transformed by one of the most significant urban regeneration schemes in the North of England.
Wykeland is part of the Wykeland Beal joint venture with East Yorkshire-based housebuilder Beal Homes which is driving forward the £80m renaissance of the Fruit Market, in partnership with Hull City Council.
The Fruit Market has been reinvented as one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing communities in the North, featuring a host of commercial, creative and cultural ventures. The first buyers are also moving into a £17m Wykeland Beal development that is adding the residential element to the developers’ “live, work and play” vision for the area.
Wykeland Beal has just secured planning permission for the latest major phase of the Fruit Market transformation, which features a new head office for the UK’s leading safety company, Arco.
Hull City Council’s Planning Committee gave the green light to the £22m scheme, including the Arco offices, a 350 space multi-storey car park, 34 residential units and 3,000 sq ft of retail/leisure space.
The 55,000 sq ft Arco building will be one of the largest new corporate head office developments in the North of England in recent years. It will accommodate around 450 employees who will transfer from Arco’s current base, in a 1960s building a mile away which is set to be demolished as part of a £392m Highways England scheme to improve the main A63 route through the city centre.
Wykeland paved the way for the Fruit Market to become a magnet for investment with developments such as @TheDock, which saw a vacant waterfront site incorporating a listed dry dock become a thriving tech campus, with the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) digital hub as its centrepiece.
@TheDock is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading digital clusters, with around 200 start-up or scale-up tech firms based on site or closely linked to it, and last month Wykeland gained planning permission for two new buildings to complete the development. The £9m plans will provide 31,000 sq ft of offices, co-working and meeting space to enable tech companies to continue to collaborate and grow.
Wykeland’s latest landmark development is a nine-storey hotel with rooftop sky bar offering spectacular views of Hull’s waterfront, as part of a scheme that will secure the future of two historic buildings and create a new city centre piazza.
Wykeland has teamed up with Princes Quay Developments, owner of Hull’s Princes Quay Shopping Centre, for the Castle Buildings scheme featuring a 52,000 sq ft hotel with 150 bedrooms as part of a £20m investment creating up to 150 jobs.
Dominic Gibbons, Managing Director of Wykeland Group, said: “Hull is riding the crest of a wave and, as a company founded and based in the city, we couldn’t be happier to be at the heart of the exciting change we are now seeing all around us.
“Hull has never before experienced so much concentrated investment, but it’s certainly not an overnight success story and it’s fair to say some of it is making up ground on other major cities.
“The seeds have been sown over many years, including by all the key players coming together behind the bid for Hull to be UK City of Culture. In fact, we were the first ‘business angel’ to back the bid, as well as becoming a Major Partner, and support from the city’s businesses community was a vital factor in the success of the bid and the year-long cultural programme.
“Being City of Culture was a game-changer for Hull and, working together, the city has capitalised on the momentum the year generated.”
Mr Gibbons said a key factor was unlocking the potential of Hull’s waterfront, including the unique Fruit Market area, which was home to the city’s wholesale fruit and vegetable trade for a century before falling into decline.
He added: “Our own offices overlook the River Hull and the Humber Estuary, so we were very aware of what could be achieved. We kick-started the revival of the waterfront by acquiring and revitalising the Marina Court offices and then launching @TheDock and C4DI.
“There had been previous plans by out-of-town developers to regenerate the Fruit Market, but these collapsed after the banking crisis. Back in 2013 we formed a joint venture with Beal Homes to bid to become Hull City Council’s partner, which has ultimately led to the thriving urban village we see today.
“Key to all of this has been the strength of our relationships with public sector partners such as the city council and businesses such as Beal Homes and Arco. The investment Hull is enjoying also demonstrates the power of bringing together physical, social and cultural change – after all, regeneration is about people, not just buildings.”
Wykeland was founded in Hull 50 years ago and has developed more than 11.5m sq ft of high-quality commercial space across the north of England and Scotland. Three years ago Wykeland sold a range of business parks in Scotland and the North East to focus on its “sphere of influence” in Yorkshire and the Humber and that decision has paid dividends.
The company now has a development pipeline of almost £400m within the region, with flagship projects including the fast-growing Bridgehead and Meltonwest business parks in East Yorkshire.
Wykeland has also established a reputation as a trusted partner of the public sector in bringing commercial acumen and delivery focus to public-private partnerships.
As well as the partnership with Hull City Council to regenerate the Fruit Market, Wykeland has formed a joint venture with Hambleton District Council to transform the former Northallerton Prison site in North Yorkshire into the £17m Treadmills retail, leisure and business destination.