Mersey Bank House on Barbauld Street is to become one of the university’s new town centre locations, after it bought the property as part of plans to relocate from its Padgate Campus.
The University of Chester has acquired the 23,000 sq ft Warrington office block, which was previously occupied by HM Revenue & Customs, from an Isle of Man-based private investor for an undisclosed sum.
The three-storey building has been vacant since 2018 and the university plans to convert the property into a centre for its education and nursing courses.
Once complete, the property is to be renamed the Sarah Parker Remond Building, after the black women’s rights and anti-slavery campaigner who travelled to Warrington to give a series of speeches in the 1800s.
Agency Eddisons acted for the vendor and Cushman & Wakefield acted for the University of Chester in the deal.
The university’s Padgate Campus, on Crab Lane in the Fearnhead area of Warrington, has been deemed unfit for purpose, prompting the institution to look to move its Warrington operations to the town centre.
It is looking for two separate sites for the relocation, and last month agreed terms on the first site, a unit at the under-development Time Square mixed-use scheme, which will act as the “shop front” of the Warrington campus, according to the university.
The Time Square unit is to comprise an information point, study space, breakout spaces for seminars, and a small lecture space for talks and events.
The flexible space would be used for a variety of activities and events, and would allow students and staff to easily access public transport links and leisure and retail facilities at Time Square, helping students to contribute more to the local economy, the university said.
Professor Eunice Simmons, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “The town centre location helps to realise the ambition to broaden the reach and accessibility of the university in Warrington, while supporting Warrington Council to focus on areas of growth, providing strategic support for the post-Covid economic and cultural recovery.”
Time Square, which is being delivered by the council’s regeneration agency Warrington & Co and Muse Developments, features a 13-screen Cineworld cinema and 70,000 sq ft of bars and restaurants. It is also home to Warrington Council’s new 103,000 sq ft office and a 1,160-space car park.
Cllr Tom Jennings, Warrington Council’s cabinet member for economic development and innovation, said: “The university’s decision to establish key academic locations in Warrington is testament to the tremendous progress being made here and is another really important step forward, as we continue the development of our town centre.”