The university recently demolished some of the old Crow’s Nest pub, which fronts the site it bought at Victoria Cross this year for around €2.5m, with planning permission already in place for student accommodation.
The college had approval from Cork City Council for the demolition, due to concerns about the stability of some buildings on the site near Cork County Hall.
But no decision has yet been made whether to develop the scheme for which planning permission already exists, or to submit a revised planning application.
Planning permission was granted in 2009, and extended last year to 2020 by the council, for a large commercial and student accommodation.
The plan as originally submitted by previous applicants was for more than 350 bedrooms in 64 student apartments.
However, due to the removal of several of the proposed floors in two main blocks, in conditions attached to Cork City Council’s grant of permission, the existing approval is for a complex that would accommodate around 200 students.
The permitted scheme would also include a bar/ restaurant and shops on the ground floor but it may be open to UCC to remove or revise that element of the approved building through a change-of-use planning application.
It will be some time early next year before any decision on what way to proceed is reached, following advice from a design team being recruited to assist on the project, according to Mark Poland, UCC’s director of buildings and estates.
Any additional bed spaces will be of strategic importance as the college seeks to offer places in dedicated student accommodation centres for first-years and all international students.
UCC president Michael Murphy told staff last week that significant additional student accommodation is needed.
The university hopes to complete the acquisition of the Victoria Mills complex soon, adjoining the college’s Western Gateway Building and quite near the Crow’s Nest site.
While the majority of those renting rooms in sites like Victoria Mills may be UCC students, owning the development would better allow international students to be guaranteed living space near the campus.
The 200-plus student bed spaces in the Crow’s Nest development would be among nearly 3,000 in various developments in planning or already under construction by all seven universities in the next few years.
However, even with another 6,000-plus bed spaces in student complexes planned by private developers, completion of those developments would leave a shortfall of over 12,000 in the number of spaces in dedicated student accommodation beds, based on estimates last year by the Higher Education Authority.