NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY IN TALKS TO BUY CITY CENTRE LAND FROM COUNCIL
The Nottingham Post's Digital News Correspondent, Jamie Barlow, writing on Tuesday 20 July 2021, reported that Nottingham University is in negotiations with Nottingham City Council for the sale of land at Crocus Place, earmarked for Grade A office accommodation in order to give it a "greater physical presence in the city centre"
University in talks over buying triangular city wasteland set for transformation
The sale will 'benefit both the city and the university'
The University of Nottingham is in talks over buying a prime city site with planning permission for Grade A office space.
When asked about Crocus Place at a city council meeting on Monday (July 19), Councillor David Mellen said the land had been sold to the university.
But the university has responded, saying it is looking at options for a "greater physical presence in the city centre" and talks are ongoing.
At a full council meeting on Monday (July 19), Councillor Mellen discussed the considerations taken into account when selling property, saying the "basic rule is to sell it at a maximum price".
He said: "Of course there are other considerations in terms of social and community benefits, working with partners and our partnership with the University of Nottingham is well established and the sale to them of Crocus Place will benefit both the city and the university."
He said "a case had to be made on both social benefit as well as the price we achieved".
However, a spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said: “We are currently exploring options for a greater physical presence in the city centre to further our civic ambitions to support jobs and growth. Negotiations are continuing so we are unable to confirm any further details at this stage.”
A city council spokesman added: “Discussions with the University of Nottingham are at an advanced stage and continuing.”
It was reported earlier this month that the city council had agreed to make the freehold of the Crocus Place site available for sale.
The project to create the high-spec office complex on the triangular site off the city's tram line was put on hold early last year.
A city council report had shown that a Nottingham-based company approached the authority over the purchase of the site with the intention of building the development - the interested company was unknown, however.
The office development is planned on vacant land off the tram line situated between Arkwright Street, Queen's Road and Crocus Street.
In a report, the city council said it has agreed to enter into a 999-year lease at a peppercorn rent with the purchaser of the site to ensure access to the tram infrastructure.
The seven-storey Crocus Place development was given the green light in June 2019 and it was reported at the time that it could provide space for about 1,150 workers.
The building is set to be built on land that was formerly an operations base for the tram extension.
Councillor Andrew Rule, who is the leader of the Conservative group, also asked Councillor Mellen for an update on the progress of the authority's "property realisation strategy", the money generated from this a key part of the council's debt recovery plan.
Councillor Mellen said capital receipts generated for the 2020/21 financial year had exceeded the target set at the start of this period - but he admitted sale targets for the current year remain a challenge.
Measures being taken to accelerate the plans include the "prioritisation of the high value sales" in the programme to ensure the council can "achieve the quickest possible and maximum possible receipts".
Councillor Mellen explained the council had also identified a number of additional properties for potential sale after a full review of the authority's assets.
In relation to this, the council is undertaking a due diligence process and the properties will come to the market in the coming months.
The authority has also reviewed the decision making as part of the sales process and Councillor Mellen said the council has "appointed additional capacity" to the property team.