Big changes could be made to how Hull's £130m Albion Square is developed
A new image of the proposed £130m Albion Square development in Hull city centre (Image: Hull Daily Mail)
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 20 Nov 2018
More details have been revealed over a planned change of direction by Hull City Council over its £130m Albion Square development.
Just over a year ago the council agreed to buy the remaining derelict buildings on the city centre site and look for a single commercial sector partner to deliver the mixed retail, leisure and residential project.
The plan envisaged a company financing the scheme, hiring contractors to build it and then marketing the residential and retail elements while selling or leasing a new ice rink and car park to the council.
But now a re-think could see the development split into smaller parcels with the council taking a more prominent role in turning the scheme into a reality.
Next week the council's cabinet will be asked to support the policy shift away from relying on a single private sector developer.
Instead, councillors are expected to back the idea of the authority becoming the developer by taking responsibility for securing detailed planning approval.
The proposed Albion Square development in Hull city centre (Image: Hull City Council)
Under that scenario, the council would not commit to any construction work until residential and retail partners are signed up.
A cabinet report suggests this would require the scheme being split into two separate blocks - the main front section overlooking King Edward Square featuring retail, leisure and residential as well as a new multi-storey car park and a second section to the rear fronting Albion Street featuring mainly residential with some new shops and offices.
The report says the initial procurement plan needs changing.
"The original proposal was to procure an overarching developer who would be required to obtain finance for the scheme and procure construction contractors.
"This option remains available, however the key risk of this approach is that it limits the market. This risk has significantly increased as the sector has regressed over the last 12 months due to the current economic climate and uncertainty.
"It is thought there are only two, possibly three, developers of the scale likely to be capable of this delivery, and the potential scale of investment on this site does not fit within their usual delivery portfolio."
The report also reveals the council intends to deliver new housing at the site through a joint consortium which includes house-builders Strata Homes and Keepmoat.
The consortium was appointed the council's citywide development partners in 2014 as part of a 13-year plan to 4,000 homes on land owned by the authority.
Daren Hale, deputy leader at Hull City Council (Image: Hull Live)
In the report, deputy council leader Daren Hale says: "After 40 years of market failure on this site, the council can pump prime this redevelopment. The site is part of the brave new future of retail, leisure and housing on one site."
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Meanwhile, updates on the demolition of buildings on the site include plans to start bulldozing the old Edwin Davis department store in January while a start on the former Bhs and Co-op stores is currently scheduled for October next year once asbestos removal work has been completed.
Part of the fish mural inside the old Co-op store in Hull (Image: Hull Daily Mail)
The report says experts continue to look at options for retaining the distinctive Three Ships mural on the front of the BHS building as well as a wall of fish mosaics inside.