Site funded by taxpayer 
to be sold
off cheaply

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AN award-winning building which cost £750,000 of public money to build will go up for auction this week without a reserve.

Hull’s landmark Arc building goes under the hammer on Wednesday, after the company which ran it went into liquidation.

Andrew Baitson, partner at auctioneer Gilbert Baitson, said there had been a “trickle” of interest from potential buyers, including a restaurateur and a caravan site.

His guess is that the building could fetch £10,000 to £20,000, a fraction of its original cost, because of the huge expense of moving it.

The building, which has an eye-catching sloping roof and array of mini wind turbines outside, was installed in Castle Street, near Hull Marina, in 2006. It went on to win a RIBA award for its architect Niall McLaughlin and has been used to promote interest in and understanding of local architecture.

Designed as a kit of parts similar to The Pompidou Centre in Paris, it can be taken apart and reassembled, possibly in a different configuration.

Mr Baitson said because of the circumstances the 3,000sq ft building didn’t have a reserve: “It makes what it makes. If the best bid on it is £5,000 so be it.

“It has to be sold.”

It has to be moved by this November from its location on a city council owned car park.

Steve Bayes, Hull Council cabinet member for city economy, said the site was part of the Fruit Market redevelopment and they had tried hard to get other parties including Hull College to take it on. “We supported Arc and tried to keep them in situ but they had to pay more money into their pension scheme than they expected and that pushed them into insolvency,” he said.

“It is better if it is sold and someone else takes the liability of moving it off our hands.

“It had a lot of uses and a lot of people benefitted from it. If the built economy hadn’t started to go downhill it would probably still be there.”