The developer behind the transformation of one of Hull’s landmark buildings is aiming to start work within months after securing planning permission for an upgrade which could create up to 600 new jobs.
Allenby Commercial intends to restore Monocle to the iconic status of its predecessor, the distinctive, gold-clad Europa House which has sat at the corner of Anlaby Road and Ferensway since 1975.
The 2020 vision for Monocle is to meet the rising demand in Hull city centre for modern, flexible office space which will attract a wide range of businesses by providing work, rest and play solutions.
Charlie Allenby, Development Manager at Allenby Commercial, said: “We’re in discussions now with a number of potential tenants who have been attracted by the location of Monocle – offering the widest range of transport options – and by the concept of combining office space with leisure and relaxation facilities.
“Now we have secured planning permission we can press ahead with our vision of integrating Monocle into the wider city centre community. Europa House has been a landmark for more than 40 years yet was still hidden away to a degree. Monocle will stand out for its design and will also be opened up with areas to entice and excite the public.”
Allenbys have made their mark throughout Hull city centre with a portfolio of renovations which have delivered Grade A office space at Minster Corner and WORX, the acclaimed Hideout Hotel regenerated from ageing retail and office units in the Old Town of Hull, and the niche shopping, food and drink outlets created in the Victorian Paragon Arcade.
Danish Buildings and the listed Bayles House, also in the Old Town, are close to completion as small offices and studios targeted at new and growing businesses.
Monocle will meld the attributes of other Allenby Commercial developments. A key feature of the planning permission is for change of use of the ground floor of the six-storey building to provide a stylish café bar and lounge area as well as a secure entrance to the offices above for tenants who will have exclusive use of a roof terrace café.
Monocle’s travel plan will maximise the rail and bus links from the adjacent transport interchange, with car parking available on site and storage space for at least 20 cycles as well as shower and changing facilities.
Charlie said: “We’re delighted with the warm response we’ve received for our other projects in Hull city centre and we’re confident people will welcome Monocle as another unique project by Allenby Commercial.
“It’s another example of our strategy of renovating older buildings which have profile and character and using them to bring new jobs to Hull. From the amenity use on the ground floor to the wide range of business options on the upper floors, Monocle has the potential to create up to 600 jobs in a location which couldn’t be more convenient.
“The site next to the transport interchange fits our agenda of creating a greener business space and positions Monocle as the closest office in Hull to London! We’re in discussions now with some well-known businesses and some fledgling operations and we expect the space to start filling up later this year.”
[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]