A new office development in the heart of Hull’s Old Town has delivered on the high-tech tenant’s simple brief to create a home to be proud of after they heeded lessons from lockdown.
Mike Ellis, Managing Director of digital marketing specialists 43 Clicks North, has been rewarded with both style and substance after putting his faith in developers Jenneson-Thompson, who responded by combining two buildings in Bishop Lane to offer character and connectivity.
Alex Jenneson, a partner in Jenneson-Thompson and Managing Director of RFD Interior Architecture, has seen his confidence pay off after pressing ahead with the purchase of the site during the first lockdown and finding innovative solutions to the challenges of integrating two buildings with an age difference of around 100 years.
After renovating the historic Salters House in spectacular fashion to accommodate RFD, Alex set his sights on the property across the courtyard which fronts onto the narrow lane leading to High Street, the Museums Quarter and the River Hull.
He said: “One of the buildings was constructed between 1870 and 1900 and the other was built in the 1980s on the site of one which was badly damaged in the Second World War. We have managed to connect them architecturally so they speak as one building.
“We knew Covid would bring challenges but we also knew people would return to work. I speak to a lot of business owners and the feeling I’m getting is that people want to be back in the office but at a safe distance, with the option of working from home as well. That approach is being adopted by small businesses like 43 Clicks North and by some of the big employers we work with.”
Mike, who founded 43 Clicks North at The Deep Business Centre in 2019, said his need was for an office which will provide a platform to double the size of his workforce of 17 and to support the relaunch of the DigiHull partnership set up with other agencies in the city.
He said: “Most businesses these days go for open plan but we wanted to create a home from home. Every room in the building has its own personality – different colours and different décor, tub seats and neon logos.
“We don’t want people to feel like they are sitting at home because they have been doing that for the past year. We’ve created a space where people feel like they belong.
“The way we have been operating with flexible working policies gave us an easy transition into the new building. The main thing we have learned during the last year is the importance of having an office where people can come in and bounce ideas off each other, but the main purpose of being here is so people don’t have to choose between a career or a lifestyle. We want them to have both.
“It gives you access to more input and bigger conversations, but people can be really productive working from home so we also gave them a reason to come in – a building they can be proud of.”
Hull City Council provided support for the project and Alex and Chris Thomson, partners in Jenneson-Thompson, are now exploring further opportunities.
He said: “The Old Town is very much on the radar of people looking for beautiful buildings with clever internal architecture. It’s interesting to see how this part of the city has changed over the years. The community feel here is a real route to work and play and there’s much more to come.”
Mike added: “There are five or six pubs within a stone’s throw, local independent boutiques and retailers, the sort of things that help us attract talent and retain it.
“There are also five or six digital agencies in the immediate area and many more around the city, which is great because we will be getting the DigiHull partnership events up and running again.”