That’s the view of commercial property expert Nick Pearce, who specialises in the acquisition, sales and lettings of office properties here at PPH Commercial.
With more than 30 years of commercial property experience in Hull under his belt, Mr Pearce is used to identifying development opportunities for a wide range of clients; from local investors through to national and international companies.
Having helped to secure the future of several significant landmarks in Hull during the 2017 City of Culture celebrations, he believes the city centre is heading towards a major transformation – fuelled by demand for multi-use assets.
“The office market in Hull and the East Riding has seen some significant changes, but nowhere has this been more prominent than in the city centre,” said Mr Pearce, one of the founders of PPH Commercial back in 1990.
“City of Culture obviously raised awareness of the city and this has resulted in a number of existing office buildings in the city centre being acquired under permitted development roles for conversion into residential premises.
“In 2017 alone, the sale of the former Queen's Garden's Police Station, Essex House on Manor Street, Ferens Court on Anlaby Road and part of Kingston House and King William House are all great examples of this.
“With two or three other offices currently under offer for similar projects, the city centre is changing and adapting to become a place where people will live, work and socialise.
“Buyers from our region and out-of-town developers have shown interest in these sites because they realise how much potential they have. They also recognise that Hull is changing as a city and they want to be part of it.”
Examples of this multi-use approach can be seen at The Worx, formerly known as Blundell’s Corner, and at K2 – previously referred to as Kingston House Tower, which are both undergoing extensive refurbishments into joint office and leisure spaces.
PPH acted as the agent on both schemes with the developers and significant elements are already pre-let, breathing new life into older units which were in need of refurbishment and had been on the market for some time.
Although this multi-use conversion trend has reduced the amount of available city-centre office space by around 300,000sqft, companies are still actively seeking to set up home in Hull.
PPH has just let 10,000sqft of office space at Anchor House, in The Maltings development, to Enact Conveyancing and they are expected to create around 160 jobs when they move into the city for the first time.
With significant interest shown @The Dock and the second ‘residential’ phase of this Wykeland development due to start in the near future, the city’s Fruit Market area is continuing to enjoy further regeneration.
According to Mr Pearce, the creation of areas like this - which can be used by a wide variety of people for various things - will help to transform Hull city centre into a multi-use hub for the next generation.
He said: “The number of enquiries we are receiving for quality office space is constantly improving. This is probably happening because those who need new space have fewer options to look at.
“Although demand for quality offices is continuing, particularly in the city centre and on business parks, supply is restricted. This means rental growth is being seen for the first time in a number of years.
“The same can be said for the retail sector, where an upward demand trend is continuing – particularly in traditional high street locations such as Whitefriargate and King Edward Street.
“In my experience, this is a sign of confidence in Hull, the people who live here and work here, and the local economy.”
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