Transformation of Hull's Paragon Square into dining quarter gets under way
A PROJECT aimed at transforming part of Hull's city centre into a new dining quarter has started.
Workmen have moved into Paragon Square to begin the demolition of a building that previously housed a gun shop and a nail salon.
Hall Construction Group will then embark on building a new restaurant, which is already attracting interest from potential operators.
The project will include the complete refurbishment of a former bar, which occupied a four-storey building next to the nail salon.
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Hull Garness Jones Chartered Surveyors is acting for the owners of the site.
Paul White, associate director of retail and leisure, said: "The owners are not trying to emulate anywhere else. They are delivering this project for the people of Hull to enjoy and to provide an opportunity for local restaurant operators to complement each other.
"This really is a prime site and highly visible to thousands of people who travel past in Ferensway every day.
"Paragon Square presents many people with their first view of Hull city centre.
"This development will make sure those first impressions are positive, and for that reason we should not underestimate the importance of the project."
Mr White admits it has taken time to get to this stage.
He said: "The owners of the site do not wish to be identified but they have worked hard in the past to improve Paragon Square.
"That has been a long and complicated process because of the history of the area and the presence of the Cenotaph but they have consulted with Hull City Council, Hull Civic Society and the Royal British Legion.
"The owners cannot reveal the value of the project but it is a significant investment, and one they are funding themselves."
Hall Construction Group expects the demolition process to take about a week.
That will be followed immediately by construction of a new building on the site of the former gun shop.
The premises will offer just over 1,000sq ft of restaurant space each on two floors.
Next door, the former bar will be refurbished to provide just over 1,200 sq ft on the ground floor, more than 1,100 sq ft on each of the first and second floors and a further 750 sq ft on the third floor.
The vision of a new dining quarter, with high-class cuisine and stylish outdoor eating areas, has been welcomed by other operators in the area.
James Stockdale and Paula Howarth opened Stanley's Brasserie almost four years ago at Paragon Square.
Last year, they expanded to open Stan's Bar in the adjacent premises and added a seated area outside.
Mr Stockdale said: "We've been looking forward to this ever since we opened and we're very excited about the development.
"We have invested a lot of time, money and effort into Stanley's and it hasn't been easy but we really believe in this part of the city.
"The outdoor eating area helped us get through the summer, which is traditionally quiet, and we've got a lot of bookings towards the end of the year.
"This development is the next piece of the jigsaw, and it's a big piece. Something like this is exactly what Hull needs in this part of the city.
"There is already interest in the new premises and once they are taken it will be like a domino effect."