A coveted city centre site has been acquired by Lincoln College in a multi-million pound deal.
The college last week completed its purchase of 120-121 High Street from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which has branches of NatWest and Coutts bank in the building.
Although the exact value of the deal has not been made public, it is thought to have been in excess of the advertised price of £4.5m after two rounds of competitive bidding. The Royal Bank of Scotland will lease back the parts of the buildings which front on to High Street.
The site, situated opposite The Mitre, currently comprises around 8,000 square feet of office accommodation which is set to be redeveloped. The total site stretches to a total of 21,000 square feet.
The finalisation of the acquisition by the Turl Street College follows the exchange of contracts between RBS and Lincoln in June of this year. It will represent the culmination of Lincoln’s long term expansion plans to own the majority of a section of central Oxford, of which Bear Lane forms the Southern border. A new graduate accommodation site is also due to be opened on Little Clarendon Street in Michaelmas.
Lincoln has had its sights set on the NatWest building since it came onto the market in 2012.
In a statement on the college website, a spokesperson for Lincoln said: “opportunities to expand into such a historic area are rare and competition was high so we are delighted to finalise ownership.”
Second year Lincoln student, Marco Alessi, expressed enthusiasm for his college’s further expansion. He commented:“Lincoln’s committed to offering well-located accommodation to all of its students throughout their degree. So it’s good to see the college expanding as student numbers rise particularly in terms of graduates. ”
However, he added: “although improvement works are underway in places, I’m slightly disappointed that millions are being spent on future students and nothing is being done to improve the 70s asbestos grot-pit that is home to all the second years.”
The college will begin to develop plans for the refurbishment and use of the building this year.