Hull City Council has approved plans for the 3,500 capacity Hull Venue, a super-theatre style arena and exhibition centre. The council has committed £36.2m towards the cost of building a complex, including the venue, a hotel and improved retail, on the site behind Princes Quay shopping centre.
Feasibility work already undertaken demonstrates that the proposed venue would attract 240,000 visitors spending £13.8m in the city every year – creating at least 500 long-term jobs.
The purpose-built venue will, for the first time, allow Hull to attract large corporate and association conferences, exhibitions and trade tours as well as major touring concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows and sporting events, complementing what is currently offered at existing venues. Acts like Olly Murs, Paloma Faith and McBusted could be in the line-up after research and consultation with venue and tour operators revealed there is a real market for a venue of its size and flexibility, with visiting acts performing on more than one night.
The council-owned Airco Arena, situated beside the football stadium, has failed to entice leading acts to the city since its opening. The venue is operated by the Stadium Management Company (SMC), which has installed an artificial 3G pitch for the exclusive use of Hull City’s youth academy. The council is unhappy with this conversion, which excludes other sport clubs, whose plight will not be solved by the proposed Hull Venue.
The council expects to have design concepts completed and a contractor appointed by the end of this year, with the venue scheduled to open in 2018. The venue will have 2,000 sq. m of exhibition space, a restaurant, dressing rooms with en-suite facilities and an outside broadcast space.
Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination, Councillor Steven Bayes, said:
A high-quality, purpose-built events and conference centre is absolutely essential to making Hull a top visitor destination and to secure a long-term legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.
Put simply, a city of Hull’s size needs a facility such as this. We will formally hand over the City of Culture title to another city in 2020, but this development will allow us to continue to attract events capable of delivering a big economic impact beyond that.
Most importantly, it will deliver 500 long-term jobs for our local workforce and young people, which is part of the legacy that we want to deliver for Hull and the economic future we need.