The community-driven HoH Food Hall project is progressing well, organisers have said, with the attraction set to open this summer, offering a vibrant mix of dining, organic grocery, retail, food, music and culture.
The food hall will support local producers, growers, makers and bakers, and has been curated by food and beverage expert Des McDonald to deliver a dynamic and unique food-driven experience direct to the high street.
The site was formerly occupied by the House of Fraser department store, which fell into administration in 2018. The development company RoK Operations realised potential of the building and the importance it had within the city and, with the support of the landlord, began an ambitious refurbishment and regeneration plan.
Des McDonald of Des McDonald Associates was appointed to help drive the project forward. With extensive experience in F&B and more than 35 years in hospitality, including an impressive track record of developing, opening and operating more than 150 restaurants, bars, cafes and coffee shops, Des will ensure consistent quality and innovation.
He has the distinction of having opened one of the original Ivy restaurants, Soho House and the world-famous Annabel’s nightclub, and has an impressive portfolio of restaurants across America, Europe and the Middle East, including Selfridges and Eataly.
He said: “Knowing Yorkshire’s reputation for great-quality produce and discovering the local community’s passion for food, I was excited at the concept to regenerate an iconic city centre building into something completely unique.
“Since working with the team, we’ve developed something really special – we’ll be working with around 100 partners, vendors and suppliers and hope to be creating around 400 new jobs.”
Showing a strong commitment to the city and to the project, Des and his team will take up residence in new offices in Hull city centre and will be looking to connect with independent vendors both locally and nationally.
With the HoH Food Hall development set for a summer launch, the RoK Operations team have since leased two further units in Worcester and Cheshire.
Eann Ramsey-Smith, RoK Operations project manager, said: “The high street is undergoing major changes, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating huge shifts in the way people shop. The food hall platform offers local producers the ability to plug and play, creating a diverse offer at each location, where our focus is on the local supply chain, local labour, zero waste, local partnerships and the ability to create a vibrant community in our buildings.
“We’re developing a unique concept of artisan food halls, which focus on visual production. Combining food retail, hospitality and culture, all of our food halls will be independent and completely unique; we don’t have a cookie-cutter approach.”
Jeremy Seymour, of JS Land & Capital (Global), the agent on behalf of the landlord, said: “Our collaborative approach is at the heart of everything we do. The partnership between landlord, tenant, operators and the local community is the bedrock of everything we are determined to achieve.”