Nuffield College has announced that the former venue for the nightclub Warehouse, which has stood empty for eight months, will be converted into office space for the university. The college has also revealed that it will not renew leases for the clubs Glee and Wahoo – instead, these will also be converted for use as offices. Work on the conversions has begun and it is hoped they could be finished as early as 2017.
The college plans to rework the area around Frideswide Square for use as a new “social sciences quarter”. In line with these goals, Nuffield purchased a large portion of the property in the area last year. The college’s acquisitions included buildings to the south of Frideswide Square, including the Jam Factory and Dosa Park restaurants, as well as much of the property along Hythe Bridge and Park End Streets.
Gwilym Hughes, Bursar of Nuffield College, said of the Warehouse conversion that “this is an exciting first step in our strategy to cluster the university’s social sciences around the college and the West End… We would like to get the departments all under one roof, as they are all a bit scattered at the moment”.
Nuffield is a graduate-only college specialising in the social sciences, particularly economics, politics, and sociology.
Mr Hughes stated that there are currently no plans to break the leases of further nightclubs.
Although the redevelopment will mean the end of three local clubs, Ronan Munro, editor of the Oxford nightlife magazine Nightshift, said that their closure is unlikely to be a great loss. “The world has changed… fewer people are going to nightclubs in the way they used to.”
“I don’t think the traditional nightclub is needed as much anymore,” Munro added. “You have got a lot of people who would rather go to a music festival than be out clubbing every weekend.”
Nuffield’s full vision for the area is expected to be revealed early next year. The redevelopment of Frideswide Square is part of the major regeneration of Oxford’s West End that has begun in recent years, with other development taking place at the Westgate Shopping Centre, the Oxpens, and Oxford Station.