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Renovating historic buildings, supporting start-up businesses and providing safe and stylish accommodation for NHS workers has kept Allenby Commercial active during lockdown.

The company has also enhanced its online activities by offering virtual video tours to prospective clients with the result that several new tenants have signed up for its array of workspace in Hull city centre.

One of the key projects has been the completion of work at Danish Buildings and the adjoining Grade II listed Bayles House, which has been restored at a cost of £1.2m, supported with £250,000 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the Humber LEP as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

The investment has enabled the creation of 17 studios in the two riverside properties and the units are being snapped up by architects, film-makers, marketing professionals, tattooists, hair stylists and others who are a perfect fit with the original brief to create new space to generate more creativity.

At the other end of the city centre the Victorian Paragon Arcade celebrated emerging from lockdown by unveiling two new independent businesses, with Nordic Rosie selling homeware and nursery items and Out of the Attic Music, offering music memorabilia, CDs and increasing amounts of vinyl.

Four more business are due to open in the coming weeks and will take the Arcade to capacity, with existing tenants having embarked on innovations of their own. Homestead Store improved its online offer and is now sending its books, magazines and more to a nationwide customer base. Two Gingers Coffee House also expanded its e-commerce activities and is now selling products internationally. Baby clothing store Belle and Benjamin has added facemasks to its product range and will make one in the time it takes for you to grab a coffee from their neighbour!

Georgia Allenby, Design and Marketing Manager at Allenby Commercial, said: “The businesses have been using the time to widen their reach and we have been getting on with renovation work in the other units as well as creating video tours of Bayles House and the office space which is available at Chariot House.”

The Hideout Hotel, which has featured in a Rough Guide top 10 cities report since it was converted by Allenbys from derelict shops and offices into an apartment hotel, coped with the Covid-19 tourist cancellations by providing workspace for people who were unable to work from home.

Its 15 apartments were then made available to NHS workers at break-even rates and provided ideal accommodation for people coming and going 24/7 with its contactless check-in, private bathroom and kitchen and a tray of cleaning products including hand sanitiser.

Georgia said: “Hideout Hotel is now welcoming guests as usual, but with extra precautions in place, but when staff from Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital needed somewhere to stay we stepped up.

“They were working days and nights but they were able to come home to comfort rather than having to stay in a hotel and pick up a pizza on the way. Many of them knew each other, they were colleagues and some were having dinner together in the evening, creating their own family bubble. We helped them create a community, because that’s what we are.”