Good news at last for Hull's Whitefriargate as property firm snaps up empty landmark

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 18 Apr 2019

One of Whitefriargate's most prominent empty buildings has been snapped up by new owners.

The acquisition of the former HSBC bank at the junction of Parliament Street is a welcome piece of good news for the long-suffering city centre street.

Both M&S and Boots are set to close their long-established stores there next month, following in the footsteps of several other high street chains.

However West Yorkshire-based property investment firm, Prospect Estates, is aiming to buck that trend after buying the old bank which closed two years ago.

The grade II listed building was originally opened as a Midland Bank. It dates back to 1878.

As well as its distinctive architecture, it's also known for having a large shark sculpture set into an adjacent pavement as part of Hull's Fish Trail.

The former HSBC bank in Whitefriargate is under new ownership (Image: Hull Daily Mail)

Offers in excess of £350,000 were being invited for the landmark property when it was first put on the market.

Its new owners are currently marketing the building for possible retail or leisure ground floor use with office accommodation on the upper floors.

The company has a UK-wide portfolio of properties with a parade of shops at the junction of Hessle Road and the Boulevard, including one unit recently opened as a fishing heritage centre by the Hull Bullnose Heritage Group

Read more: How Hull's Whitefriargate could look in future in new artist impressions

The acquisition also comes after Hull City Council announced plans to bid for more than £10m worth of government funding to help revive Whitefriargate's fortunes.

Leading a partnership of private businesses and stakeholders, the council wants to improve existing ground floor shop fronts by matching them with the historic architecture of the many of the upper floors above.

It's hoped that the work will help to attract a diverse mix of food and drink, boutique, commercial and leisure outlets to the street.

Empty shops in Hull City centre, pictured is the former Ann Summers shop on Whitefriargate. (Image: Peter Harbour)

Deputy council leader Councillor Daren Hale said: "Hull is not immune from the major retail changes impacting upon the British high street, but we are committed to bold plans which will help the redesign and future use of historic listed buildings on streets like Whitefriargate.

Read more: Crawshaws butchers is getting a new name - and one Hull store will look totally different

"As Trinity Market shows, there is clear demand for niche, bespoke retailing, where the products you buy are not generic and harmonious, but are particular to a place or city like ours."

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