Keys to renovated historic Guildhall handed over to university

The University of York has received the keys to the newly-renovated Guildhall as its 15-year lease of the  building begins.

The city-centre building has just undergone a £21m renovation and will be leased to York Science Park (YSPL), a subsidiary of the University of York, which offers support for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to grow.

The Guildhall complex, which contains a collection of Grade I, II* and II listed buildings built around the 15th century hall and riverside meeting room, has been a seat of civic governance in York since the 1200s.

The renovated building offers office space, spaces for community use, a café, a new riverside restaurant, and better access for local residents.

University of York aims to use the building to provide opportunities to promote social enterprise and charitable work for the benefit of the local community.

Alongside this it will offer facilities for students, as well as new and existing businesses, to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for partnerships and engagement, said: “Our involvement in this new chapter for the restored Guildhall will allow the university to offer more support and space to local businesses, start ups, charities and community networks than ever before.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to drive enterprise, innovation, collaboration and inclusive growth in our city.”

The Guildhall project, which uses green technology to heat the building, reducing costs and environmental impact, delivers office spaces with the potential to create an estimated 250 jobs in high value sectors, improved public access to the building and an estimated £117m boost to the city’s economy over the next five years.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, said: “The extent of the city’s ambitions and aspirations can be seen in microcosm in this investment in the Guildhall.

“This project has taken one of the most important heritage buildings in the UK, one of York’s best-loved historic sites, and has – through excellent design, careful investment and very high quality construction – built a new part of York’s future; innovative, environmentally progressive and better for people.

“It’s a building and a legacy that York’s people can be proud of for many years to come.”

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