Demolition of safety expert Arco’s longstanding Waverley Street head office is now underway to support the A63 Castle Street improvement scheme.
The £355m upgrade, designed to relieve traffic congestion for around 47,000 daily road-users facing congestion, delays and long queues, is the largest Hull has ever seen.
Once the project is complete, new roads and junctions will improve access to the port and connections between the city centre and the tourist and recreational areas at the docks.
Highways England first published its plan to expand the A63 in 2010 when the preferred route was announced, however, Arco always made it clear that the proposals severely restricted access to its office, store and facilities for HGV deliveries, colleagues and visitors.
At the same time, Highways England was tasked with finding a good location for a suitably sized production compound as close as possible to the Mytongate junction. This is required to build the 400m long underpass, which is a key part of the scheme.
Arco’s site on Waverley Street was identified as the ideal location and Arco, Hull City Council and Highways England worked to find a solution. As a result, Arco’s head office of the last 60 years was purchased by Hull City Council to push the scheme forward.
The site is now owned by Hull City Council and leased to Highways England for the duration of the scheme. Balfour Beatty, who are Highways England’s principal contractor will be responsible for coordination of the demolition work, and local firm Expotrack have been appointed to demolish the building, a process which is expected to take approximately 6 weeks.
However, the demolition won’t remove Arco from its roots. With longstanding ties to Hull since its first shop opened on Queen Street in 1893, the family business is relocating back to Hull’s Fruit Market area with a new £16m headquarters.
Arco’s new headquarters will be the largest office build in Hull in over 50 years. Once complete, around 600 colleagues will relocate to the five-storey complex. The building work also marks a major milestone in the £80m rejuvenation of the waterfront Fruit Market area, which is being transformed in one of the North of England’s most significant urban regeneration projects.
The supplier of safety equipment continues to demonstrate commitment to investing in Hull, having recently completed a £30m extension to a National Distribution Centre (NDC) on the A63. In preparation to leave its Waverley street site, the expert in safety has already moved its retail store to Liverpool Street and its Hose Division to new £2m purpose-built facility near the Hull-based NDC.
David Evison, Managing Director of Arco, says: “We’re pleased to be able to support a project that will bring so many benefits to Hull. The A63 development will be safer, alleviate congestion and improve access between the city centre and the docks.
“Our new head office will support the regeneration of Hull’s Fruit Market, ensuring the city remains vibrant and commercially successful, whilst creating a great working environment for our colleagues.
“This is yet another demonstration of our commitment to the city and is part of a significant investment plan to support the growth of our business, which includes the recent extension of our Distribution Centre and investment in digital capability.”
Councillor Hale from Hull City Council, says: “There are many benefits to the scheme for people who live and work in Hull; relieving congestion, access to the port and road safety. We’re happy that the site chosen allows the regenerated area around the Bonus Arena to remain untouched.”
James Leeming, Senior Project Manager from Highways England, said: “I’m delighted that for this part of the project we’ve found a solution that supports the regeneration of the fruit market and preserves Arco’s well-established ties to Hull.
“The Castle Street scheme will usher in an exciting new era for Hull, creating a much better connection between the city centre and the retail and docks area. These improvements will make life considerably easier for road users and pedestrians.”
Will Neaves, Balfour Beatty Project Director, said: “Since early 2020, we have been working with Arco to finalise the demolition of its remaining headquarters in Hull, and to progress Highways England’s A63 Castle Street project, which, on completion will help improve access between Hull City Centre and the retail and docks area.
“We are pleased to have reached this milestone with Arco and Highways England and are proud to support a project that will shape the future of Hull.”