The University of Nottingham today confirmed that it has made an offer to purchase the Castle Meadow site in the centre of the city at the foot of the newly-restored Nottingham Castle.
The purchase would realise a longstanding ambition for the university to have a greater physical presence in the city centre.
Potentially it could provide a campus for final year and postgraduate students studying professional practice-based courses, as well as a prominent home for its work to support jobs, investment and growth for the city.
A city centre campus could house start-up businesses and partnerships developed under the university’s Digital Nottingham programme, as well as the joint activity delivered through the Universities for Nottingham partnership with Nottingham Trent University.
Providing a city centre base for this work would create significant opportunities to use the institution’s research expertise to support the growth of the city’s economy, and help realise the potential, skills and ambitions of people across the city.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said:
“This is a symbolic milestone in the story of both the city and the University of Nottingham and presents a hugely exciting opportunity. Opening an additional UK campus is an expression of confidence in the future of both the university and the city of Nottingham.
“Having a campus in the city, with transport links that offer a gateway beyond the region, will help enhance our civic agenda and enable us to deliver on our ambitions to support jobs, investment and growth across the city. It also offers greater opportunities for collaboration with local business, industry and SMEs, making it easier for partners to engage with us and develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
“For students in particular the site could enable greater and more convenient links with regional business and industry through placements, entrepreneurship, and collaboration to deliver a professional and practice-based curriculum, enhancing their graduate employment skills and opportunities to remain and work in the city.
“A civic and professional campus at Castle Meadow will accelerate the delivery of our strategic ambitions, demonstrating to the people of Nottingham just how far we are prepared to go to make a positive difference for the city, while offering the best of facilities for staff and current and future students.”
Professor Paul Grainge, Academic Director for Digital Nottingham said:
“The driving purpose of Digital Nottingham is to be in the city and for the city. The Castle Meadow site provides a tremendous opportunity to connect with people, business, and organisations in the heart of Nottingham.
“As a space to forge collaborations and build relationships around digital transformation, the central location will enable Digital Nottingham to take forward the University’s civic-focused ambition. It is the perfect location to realise its vision, helping to improve life, prosperity and prospects in the city. Castle Meadow provides a new geography for Nottingham as a university and as a place, and it will fast-track Digital Nottingham as an exciting and inclusive presence in the centre of the city.”
Originally designed by award-winning architect Sir Michael Hopkins, the site was put on the market for £36 million and covers an area of 32,500 square metres, including seven iconic office buildings, which would be renovated to the highest standards of environmental sustainability. The acquisition is likely to complete during the autumn and, subject to successful purchase, renovation of the site would commence in 2022.