Development work on St Andrew's Dock and the former Rank Hovis Mill in Hull set to start
A DEVELOPER behind two multi million-pound projects in Hull says work will start on both within months.
Manor Property Group has confirmed starting dates for work at the old St Andrew's Dock in west Hull, and the derelict former Rank Hovis Mill complex in the city centre.
Construction work at the dock on a new waterfront campus for over 1,200 students will start in May, while the demolition of the old mill is scheduled to get underway a month later.
The demolition will pave the way for a £100m residential, hotel and leisure complex called Manor Mill.
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North Ferriby-based Manor Property Group has faced criticism over the time to get its schemes off the ground after securing planning permission.
A number of sites it owns continue to suffer vandal attacks.
Phil Akrill, the majority shareholder in the company, said: "It's easy to criticise but these kind of developments take a long time to put together before anything starts coming out of the ground.
"Getting your ticket for planning permission is one thing but there is very long process to go through after that before you can get to the point where all your ducks are lined up in a row.
"None of the sites we have in Hull are easy sites to develop and the state of the national economy hasn't helped.
"We are already on site and building in a number of other cities but I'm an East Yorkshire lad with a soft spot for Hull and it's important for me that we are doing the same thing here.
"If we couldn't do these sites we would be selling them.
"If we didn't believe in Hull and didn't believe we could develop them and bring business into Hull we would not have bought these sites in the first place.
"It's probably worth asking who else is building anything at the moment in Hull?
"Look around and there's not a lot going on, even Siemens is overdue."
He said the Manor Mill and dock projects were fully financed with a choice of two potential operators lined up for the 172-bed hotel.
"We are not relying on any grants for these two developments.
"It's money from traditional investment sources and some of our own. We continue to use the banks we have always worked with and I am glad to say their enthusiasm for development seems to be returning."
The facelift scheme at St Andrew's Dock will also include the refurbishment of four buildings, including the former Lord Line trawler company offices which still dominate the skyline.
The offices are set to become the headquarters of an off-shoot student accommodation company called Qdos overseeing similar campus schemes in five other cities as well as Hull.
Mr Akrill said: "The Lord Line building is a fantastic opportunity to do something quite exciting.
"We are looking to have around 40 staff based as a national headquarters."
Two other Manor-owned sites lie in the city centre.
Mr Akrill said options for the former Co-op building in Jameson Street were being reviewed after an unsuccessful attempt to secure European funding to offset some of the cost of refurbishing the old department store.
He said talks were still continuing with British Home Stores over extending its neighbouring store into the empty ground floor of the old Co-op.
The company is also behind a proposed hotel in Anne Street.