A NEW education campus is set to bring up to 1,000 students to Cork’s north side, as rapidly-growing Griffith College finalises a deal worth c €2m on the former St Patrick’s Marymount Hospice.
The privately-owned third level college with over 8,000 students nationally and currently with 600 in Cork is in the final stage of negotiations on the 70,000 sq ft complex of buildings on five acres at St Luke’s Cross/Wellington Road, which went up for sale two years ago.
It is understood the college has agreed rental terms, with an option to buy, with details and planning issues being finalised this month prior to a hand-over.
At the time of its sale launch, Marymount hospice/St Patrick’s Hospital had an initial guide price of €5m via agents Savills, with the proceeds destined to help some of the costs of the completed new €55m complex at Curraheen, on the city’s western suburbs. Other funding has come from dynamic fundraising, philanthropist Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Resources, and Government coffers.
Now, as a result of the deal with Griffith College, the former medical complex with a 140-year history is due a new lease of life as a sizeable education establishment, with a significant student residential element which will bring a fresh injection of life to the St Luke’s area.
Acquiring a five-acre city site puts the Cork college on a scale comparable to Griffith’s main Dublin base, where it operates from a seven-acre campus at the former Griffith Barracks near the South Circular Road.
The privately owned college was set up in 1974, and moved to Dublin’s Griffith Barracks in 1991, taking the Griffith name, and has links with UK and international universities which validate many of its courses. The company has also had a college in Limerick since 2006.
The colleges specialise in areas such as law, business and accounting, journalism and media, music, etc. They attract international as well as Irish students (Griffith opened colleges in Moscow and Karachi in the mid 2000s) and fees can average €4,000 to €5,000 per year. They also have adult and evening courses.
In Cork, Griffith College took over Skerrys Business School, a business/secretarial college on St Patrick’s Hill in 2005, and moved to a larger premises on Sullivans Quay in 2009. It is understood the lease at Sullivans Quay is now up, and Griffith also has a presence nearby on Cove Street/Drinan Street. It expects number to rise to 1,000 within in two years.
Although Griffith College and Savills’ agent Isobel O’Regan declined to comment on the plans for St Patrick’s/Marymount until negotiations are finalised, Griffith had confirmed it is in talks with the hospice charity. These negotiations are likely to conclude this month, according to informed sources.
The building was pitched towards education uses, and secondary school St Angela’s has made use of it in recent times as it upgrades its own St Patrick’s Hill building. Cork City Council granted temporary change of use permission to facilitate the school’s move to St Patrick’s in 2011, while another secondary school, Scoil Mhuire, is also currently upgrading its facilities on Wellington Road — and chose not to consider relocating to St Patrick’s Marymount.
Also in the St Patrick’s Hill area are boys’ primary and secondary school CBC, along with several private language schools. Griffith College’s arrival consolidates all that activity.
Details: Savills, 021-4271371