County Hall sale to Chester Uni agreed

Chester University has confirmed its acquisition of County Hall in Chester city centre from the local authority for around £10m.

Prof Tim Wheeler, vice-chancellor, said: "Following months of speculation, the university is delighted that it is now in a position to announce that it has bought County Hall for what has been professionally estimated to be the current market value."

The landmark building is close to Liberty Properties' HQ building into which Cheshire West & Chester Council will relocate as a result of the sale.

Wheeler continued: "Acquiring such a flagship, classically-designed building as County Hall in such a prime location is an unrivalled opportunity for the university to be represented closer to the city centre, as is the case with many other higher education institutions in historic cities.

"County Hall will be a focus for two of our faculties which most directly relate to those public services, health & social care and education & children's services, together with staff from support services such as marketing, recruitment and admissions."

The university made a surplus of £6m last year and is embarking on an expansion programme, the next stage of which is likely to feature new student accommodation on the main campus on Parkgate Road.

Negotiations are well advanced but not yet complete between the council and Liberty over the HQ letting. The council will take all 82,000 sq ft of offices in the mixed-use scheme overlooking the Roodee racecourse.

Law firm Hill Dickinson advised Chester University.

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