'More restaurants, cafes and Hull Venue link': Interim Princes Quay manager outlines his vision for centre's success
Peter Cook, Princes Quay Shopping centre's new interim manager
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 8 Sep 2017
His dad was a Hull City player, his granddad represented Hull KR and now Peter Cook has returned home to look after Princes Quay shopping centre.
Born in the city, Peter Cook has returned after more than 30 years of working in retail across the country.
He has taken the helm of Princes Quay on an interim basis while a new permanent centre manager is recruited.
“I was born and grew up in Hull, so I have a real connection with the city and I am really excited to be back,” Mr Cook said.
“I can remember when Princes Dock was a dock, my uncle was a tug skipper and I travelled with him on his tug through the dock many times, long before the centre was built.
“Princes Quay is located right in the heart of the rich heritage area of the city, so when the opportunity arose I grabbed it with both hands.”
Mr Cook’s dad, also called Peter, played on the left wing for the Tigers in the 1940s while his grandad James Cook represented Hull KR.
Returning home to make a difference is a tantalising prospect for Mr Cook.
“The future for Hull is incredibly exciting; we’re already seeing huge investments from the likes of Siemens,” Mr Cook said.
“And with the council’s investment in the city centre public realm works, plus City of Culture, I think Hull can only go one way and that’s up."
Mr Cook brings a vast experience to the role, including 13 years as centre director at the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds, along with stints as shopping centre manager at Victoria Square, Belfast and Frenchgate Doncaster.
“There has been a lot of investment from the owners so I need to make sure we make the most of that,” he said.
“We need more training, marketing and maintain standards. All the staff have to pull together and make sure they offer the best service.”
It is a busy time for the centre, which has just opened its outlet mall and has recently introduced new leisure facilities. There are also plans for a new entrance to the shopping centre.
“The new outlet is a really smart development and it’s totally unique to have high street and outlet shopping under one roof,” he said.
“The outlet is performing to expectations but there are still vacant units. There is a lot of interest and once they are filled it will do even better.”
Mr Cook admits the habits of shoppers has changed and he has to ensure the shopping centre adapts.
“Increasingly, shopping is becoming a leisure activity; people want to browse the shops, have a bite to eat and grab a coffee," he said.
“Princes Quay already has a good leisure offering with the cinema and Superbowl, which will hopefully be enhanced with the addition of more cafes and restaurants.”
The shopping centre will be boosted by the opening of Hull Venue, with a direct, physical link between the two when it opens next year.
“The opening of the new Venue next year is another exciting step on Hull’s journey and I’m sure it will have a positive impact,” Mr Cook said.
“Ultimately I want to help foster a sense of pride in Princes Quay and the city centre as a whole to keep local people shopping locally and attract more people from outside the city.”
Mr Cook’s appointment on an interim basis comes after the successful opening of the new Outlet level at Princes Quay, led by Ray Cliff, who will return to his role at management company Realm.
“More people need to say good things about this city," Mr Cook said. “This is a great place with huge potential and really it is a hidden gem.
“City of Culture has done a lot to put it on the map but we need to keep that positive legacy going.”