Civic Society award for Paragon Square

A seven-year project which combines listed buildings and independent businesses with some of the brightest and biggest names in modern dining trends has won an accolade from Hull Civic Society.

Some of the buildings in the block at Paragon Square and Ferensway date back more than 100 years and have been lovingly restored by Regent House Estates Ltd to house local businesses including Stanley’s Brasserie, Kathmandu and Acklam Coaches.

Now they have been joined by a first Yorkshire outlet for the expanding Kaspa’s Desserts, with a major investment by Domino’s Pizza coming soon, and the dedication and innovation behind the project has been awarded a coveted Good Mark.

John Scotney, chairman of Hull Civic Society, said: “Regent House Estates are to be congratulated for their vision, persistence and sympathetic attention to detail during a long-term – and sometimes challenging – rolling scheme of renovation.”

The Civic Society considered all aspects of the restoration of the properties which are bordered by Paragon Square, Ferensway and Anlaby Road and which were bought by Regent House Estates in 1995.

During work to replace shop signs at 26 Anlaby Road in 2015, the original Art Nouveau façade was revealed along with many important internal features.

John said: “The unit is part of the Grade II Listed Regent House, the flamboyant corner building of 1904, which has been restored carefully to retain all of its original features, which still delight the eye.”

In Paragon Square, the Civic Society highlighted Stanley’s and the adjacent properties which have been renovated – and in some cases demolished and rebuilt. New tenants Kaspa’s Desserts are now open and Domino’s will open its first restaurant outlet in the region next month.

John said: “The whole block has been sensitively refurbished, without changing any of the architectural features, but making them look well cared for. A major improvement has been achieved by acquiring and rebuilding the single storey building next to Stanley's.  This used to house Duncan's gun shop and for many years the low roofline was compensated for by an advertisement hoarding which in earlier years incorporated the Guinness Clock.  Its removal left a gap and by rebuilding it as two storeys in 2012, Paragon Square has regained its visual coherence.

“The Good Mark recognises the sensitive restoration of a group of properties and re-building of two particular properties in one of the most prominent locations in Hull. This diverse group of buildings is seen by thousands of people, many of them visitors, every day as they emerge from Paragon Station or pass along Ferensway.  Before the block was bought by Regent House Estates, some of the buildings looked shabby and gave a poor impression of the city.  Since then, the owners have steadily invested in improvements that enhance the particular features of each building.”

The Civic Society praised the work of Hall Construction in rebuilding the new restaurants and Regent House Estates commended Ian Hodges & Co as project managers since 2009 and Garness Jones as letting agents.

Paul White, agency director at Garness Jones, said: “This was a very run down area of Hull city centre and everyone involved in the project feels honoured that the restoration has been recognised with a Good Mark by Hull Civic Society.

“Regent House Estates have always gone to great lengths to ensure the redevelopment would be sympathetic and in keeping with the history of the buildings, most of which are listed and within a conservation area. They have had tremendous support from Hull Civic Society, HullBID, the conservation team at Hull City Council and the Royal British Legion.”

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID city centre manager, said: “Regent House Estates have been on a journey with this property and with Paragon Square in particular and the result is three high quality food and beverage businesses which will attract families into the city centre during the day and in the evening. 

“They had approaches from other operators but they remained true to their vision and it has finally come together. The Good Mark is not given lightly and it is held in high esteem.”

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