Gloucester's iconic Debenhams building bought by university

The purchase is part of the university's ambitious plans to expand the scale and range of its higher education programmes.

Gloucester's iconic Debenhams building in the heart of the city centre has been bought by the University of Gloucestershire.

The 1930s building has been empty since it closed down when the company was sold in January 2020.

The site will be fully refurbished and used for teaching and learning for staff and students. The art deco exterior will be left as it is.

The purchase is part of the university's plan to increase the number of students and to expand the scale and range of its courses.

It has not been decided which courses will be based in the five-floor building but nursing and allied health are among options being explored.

The University hopes that phase one of the project could open as early as September 2023.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “The Debenhams building has a special place in the hearts of local people, and we’re delighted that our plans will help breathe new life and purpose into a place that is central to the city’s heritage.

"It is part of the University’s mission to support the growth and development of our community, economically, socially and culturally. By repurposing this iconic building into a new hub for learning, we can make a major contribution to creating a better future for our community. 

"We have ambitious plans for growth in our student numbers and the range of higher education courses we offer. 

"The restoration of this iconic building will enable us to create the additional space we need for additional students and staff in a location with excellent transport links, new student accommodation, and local services in a phased way, while boosting the city centre economy.

"We want to explore a range of potential partnerships for accommodating services of value to the public, taking advantage of this prime city centre location to offer local people access to services they value.

"This is all part of the wider ambition, working with partners to bring new life and vibrancy to the high street." 

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