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Ulster University has completed the acquisition of prime real estate in both Belfast and Derry~Londonderry, and is investing in the student experience in Coleraine, reflecting the university’s continued commitment to its regional footprint and vibrant campus life.

Ulster University has recently completed the purchase of the 0.65-acre redevelopment site that was previously home to the Irish News in Donegall Street, alongside its Belfast City Centre campus. The former newspaper premises runs through to the university’s York Lane entrance to its Students’ Union with part of the site of 113 Donegall Street a 3-storey Grade B2 listed building.

Next month, the Irish News team is relocating to new company headquarters at the Fountain Centre, home to its sister operation Q Radio. Speaking about the sale, Irish News Managing Director, Dominic Fitzpatrick said: “The sale of the historic Irish News building to Ulster University creates a fantastic legacy for what was the home of our newspaper for over a century. We will be sorry to leave Donegall Street, which has served us so well down the generations, but we are looking forward to all the opportunities associated with our new home.”

Specific plans for the newly-acquired space are to be defined by Ulster University but the additional site will complement the new Belfast campus that opened to staff and students in September 2022, fostering creative talent, scientific expertise, engineering innovation and entrepreneurial drive in the city centre.

In Derry, Ulster University has acquired the Mount Royal building on the Northland Road.  Previously owned by the university in the 1990’s, it will offer 25 apartments designed and maintained to be a home-from-home for students studying at the city campus. Located just a few minutes from the northern edge of the campus alongside local amenities, the library, students’ union, gym and transport links, the accommodation also benefits from its proximity to city centre life and restaurants, bars, and pubs.

The self-contained one-bedroom apartments will be equipped with a double bed, fully-equipped kitchen, furnished living, dining area and bathroom. As well as convenient on-site communal laundry facilities, each apartment has gas central heating, pay-as-you-use electricity supply and broadband.

Welcoming news of the acquisitions, Amanda Castray, Director of Campus Life said:

“Mount Royal provides a great addition to the university’s student accommodation in Derry, offering apartment-style accommodation for individuals, couples and families. Students enjoy the benefits of staying in university accommodation including 24/7 pastoral care and a full social events programme. We are delighted to bring this building back into our accommodation provision and expand the options for students studying and living in this vibrant university city.”

The Mount Royal accommodation will be available for our student residents for the start of the new academic year in September.

Meanwhile, at Ulster University’s Coleraine campus, design work is underway to enhance the students’ union space and facilities. In redeveloping the 335m² space, the university is working closely with Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU) to design and create a contemporary centrally located space for students to relax and socialise both during the day and in the evening. The on-campus bar will offer a welcoming and casual atmosphere for the campus's 3,000 students.

Ulster University Students’ Union Coleraine VP Ethan Davies commented:

“We are fortunate to have so much progressive teaching space on campus, as well as our extensive sports centre and acres of green spaces – all of which play an important part in the student experience.  A safe and lively place to relax with friends at the heart of campus is central to building the student community and we valued the opportunity to help design the space so that it really meets the needs of students. By giving the student cohort a space where they can have the craic and relax after a long day of learning is something we at UUSU are proud of having a helping hand in."