A CITY centre building owned by Solent University is changing hands after it was bought by the University of Southampton

The Sir James Matthews building in Guildhall Square has stood empty since Solent University moved its business, law and digital courses in 2019. 

Now, the site is due to get a new lease of life after it was purchased by the University of Southampton. 

Solent University has said it is pleased with the move which will ensure the site continues to be used for education in the city. 

READ MORE: University of Southampton and Solent University climb up UK rankings

Paul Colbran, Chief Operations Officer at Solent University, said: "The planned relocation of Solent University’s business, law and digital teaching from the Sir James Matthews building in 2019 to our award-winning learning spaces in East Park Terrace has been well received by staff and students.

"We are pleased that the building will continue to be used for educational purposes as we continue to work in partnership with the city.

"As part of Solent’s wider strategic plan 2025, we are focussed on building a campus fit for the future, designed to support our curriculum, our ways of working and our environmental objectives.

"The sale of the Sir James Matthews building is in line with our strategy to further enhance the student experience by providing connected student-centred facilities on our East Park Terrace site. A place to be, and belong."

The building was previously used as a major department store but closed in 1993 under the name Plummer Roddis. 

READ MORE: Plummer Roddis - the city's first department store

Both universities have recently climbed the rankings in the annual Complete University Guide

The University of Southampton was among the top four in the South East and 13th overall, whilst Solent jumpimg three places to 117th. 

Speaking on the takeover, Phil Wright, Senior Vice President at the University of Southampton, said he is "delighted" that the university is able to extend its activities into the city centre.

"The University already has a presence at Guildhall Square with the opening of its John Hansard Gallery in 2018 as part of the cultural quarter, and some administration offices on the south of the square," he said.

"There will be a need for the building to undergo some refurbishment, but we are confident that we can give it a new lease of life and re-open it by the new year.

"This new education space and our student residences at Mayflower will see more vibrancy in the city centre, which we are certain will add to the local economy and culture."

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