UCC to open business school for 4,000 students in city centre

An artist’s impression of University College Cork’s proposed 4,000-student strong business school in Trinity Quarter, South Terrace, Cork.

University College Cork is to open a 4,000-student strong Business School in Cork city centre in what is another huge boost for the region.

UCC has chosen the Trinity Quarter site, previously Brooks Haughton’s builders’ yard, as the location for its new Cork University Business School (CUBS), for 200 staff and 4,000 students.

The site already has full planning permission for a development of 220,000sq ft, on 1.46 acres in a five-storey building with atrium and basement. However, UCC will now seek permission for change of use from offices to education use and may seek approval from City Hall for an altered design, but the height and scale precedent for such a large-scale development has been established.

The former Brooks Haughton site as it appeared yesterday, which is set for redevelopment by UCC. Picture: Larry Cummins

Dean of CUBS, Thia Hennessy, said a design team would now go to work on the proposal, and suggested a date for moving in could be the start of the academic year in 2022 or 2023.

Currently, the Cork University Business School has 3,500 students across disciplines such as finance, economics, accounting, BIS, marketing and food business: of these, about 700 are postgraduates, and 400 are international students from non-EU countries. It is understood rival locations considered for the new, state-of-the-art CUBS were at Curraheen, west of the city where UCC has land, and in the city’s burgeoning docks district, but the decision was made to go city centre, with fuller details of the deal to be made in coming weeks.

UCC president Patrick O’Shea said a commitment had been made that the new business school should be city-facing. “That commitment was central to our choice of site for the new business school.

“The successful growth of the university has required expansion beyond our historic campus and I want that expansion to integrate well into the university-city interface and to bring additional vibrant entrepreneurial benefits and jobs to further enhance the social and economic fabric of Cork’s city and its region.”

Ms Hennessy said student numbers were heading up to 4,000.

“This building will give us the capacity to realise our potential in terms of student numbers and to offer a world-class student and staff experience in a future-proofed learning environment for generations of business students to come.”

The Trinity Quarter site had been bought in 2008 for €15m by a Dairygold-related company, Alchemy Properties. They secured office planning on it, and put it up for pre-lets in 2016 via agents Lisney and CBRE.

It is now being purchased and developed by UCC, which paid an undisclosed sum for the 1.46 acres. It is thought likely to have been in the region of €16m.

The move follows swiftly on from late last year when UCC/CUBS also opened a centre for executive education at 1 Lapps Quay, in the old Savings Bank building facing City Hall.

The new site is on Copley St, South Terrace and fronts Union Quay and the College of Commerce, 100m from CIT’s School of Music, and is close to South Mall and St Patrick’s Street.

Meanwhile, also in Cork city centre, the sale of the 0.9-acre Carey Tool Hire and Sextant bar, for redevelopment by John Cleary Developments, has also been confirmed.

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