Hull is to get a new £42m 3,500-capacity conference centre and four-star hotel, as the city gears up for its role as the UK’s 2017 Capital of Culture, CN can reveal.
The project will be built on derelict land between the Princes Quay shopping centre, Myton Street and Castle Street and, subject to final approval, is expected to create 500 new jobs.
The proposals will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet later this month and, if approved, construction work could start next year for completion in 2018.
Hull City Council is to contribute £30m towards the venue costs. The centre is to be designed to stage exhibitions, events and concerts, as well as conferences. The council projects it will inject £16.4m into the local economy every year.
City Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination and City of Culture, said: “A high-quality, purpose-built events and conference centre is absolutely essential to making Hull a top visitor destination.
“Put simply, a city of Hull’s size needs a facility such as this. We will formally hand over the title to another city in 2020, but this development will allow us to attract events capable of delivering a big economic impact beyond that.”
The council has said it does not plan to manage the venue once completed, however. It hopes the £42m project will “put the city on the UK map as a location for major events”.
The Bondholders marketing organisation which promotes Hull has said the scheme would help to create a “thriving environment” for business.
Board member Anja Hazebroek said: “We are delighted to see major projects such as this being brought forward and applaud Hull City Council’s commitment of significant funds to enhance the city’s leisure, tourism and business facilities.
“There’s a real energy in Hull at the moment as the city is prepared for 2017 and beyond.”
Gareth Russell, Bondholders Board member and Associated British Ports Business Development Manager, Humber, added: “With unprecedented levels of investment happening around the UK’s energy estuary, it’s vital we use the City of Culture title as a catalyst to make sure those businesses and their staff have more opportunities to spend their money here.”
Alongside other major investments in Hull, including the regeneration of the Fruit Market and a recently announced £25m public realm programme, the conference centre project represents a big step up for the city as a business and tourism destination. The council estimates annual visitor spend will increase by more than £30m annually.
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