Work with council to breathe new life into Fruit Market
DEVELOPERS are to be invited to draw up fresh proposals to revamp Hull's old Fruit Market.
The neighbourhood around Humber Street has become the focus for an emerging cultural quarter in recent years.
Now Hull City Council, which owns a significant amount of land in the area, is about to start a process to appoint a long-term development partner to spearhead an ambitious facelift programme.
Council officials say the eventual developer could be a single company or a consortium.
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But they are looking to team up with a commercial partner capable of not only tackling a diverse regeneration project involving new-build schemes and refurbishment work but also in a position to help bridge a funding gap currently estimated at about £22m.
The brief will include building new residential and commercial developments on cleared sites, constructing a major new arts and exhibition centre and refurbishing existing former wholesale fruit warehouses in Humber Street to bring them back into use.
A new report setting out the proposed procurement process goes before scrutiny councillors tomorrow before a final decision by the authority's cabinet in January.
In the report, the council's economic and regeneration director Mark Jones says: "The Fruit Market is a significant asset for the city and presents a huge development opportunity especially when considered as part of the wider waterfront and city centre regeneration.
"A development competition will provide an opportunity to develop a distinctive and vibrant cultural offer based on the area's heritage.
"It will also link with the wider vision for the waterfront – linking to The Deep, ocean liner terminal and other existing and potential waterfront developments.
"It will also create private sector investment and jobs in new and emerging cultural and creative industries and tourism."
The area played host to this summer's successful Freedom Festival, which attracted 75,000 people over two days in September.
The Humber Street Sesh festival held a few weeks before also proved to be a major success.
Councillor Steven Bayes, portfolio holder for regeneration, said appointing a lead developer to work in partnership with the council would be a "first step" towards the long-term goal of revitalising the area.
The council has set aside £200,000 to cover the expected cost of the 18-month procurement process and another £150,000 to continue supporting a number of temporary arts-based businesses in Humber Street to continue for another two to three years.