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University of York signs new 15 year lease of York Guildhall

Posted on 5 August 2021

The University of York has announced the signing of a 15 year lease of the York Guildhall, one of the city’s most prestigious historic buildings.

Cllr Keth Aspden, Professor Kiran Trehan and Cllr Nigel Ayre at the GuildhallCllr Keith Aspden, Professor Kiran Trehan and Cllr Nigel Ayre at the Guildhall. Image credit: Gareth Buddo

The lease is being taken through York Science Park Ltd, a subsidiary of the University which has been providing business support and facilities to businesses for nearly 30 years.  

The Guildhall complex is owned by City of York Council and is made up of Grade I and II listed buildings built around a 15th-century main hall. 

Extensive restoration and redevelopment work is due to be completed in late 2021, at which point the building will provide offices, meeting rooms and conference space, a café and a separate riverside restaurant unit. 

City Recovery

The move is set to support innovation, productivity and inward investment in the City and to create a prominent City centre hub to drive business engagement, incubation, enterprise and events, driving growth in the City as it recovers from the pandemic. 

The building complex will remain open to the public during opening hours for tours and to access the new riverside café and will continue to be used for Full Council meetings and other Civic events, whilst also providing space for community groups and social enterprise, as well as a venue for University events such as York Festival of Ideas and York Talks.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: “It is an exciting time for the University of York to be involved with the next era of the prestigious and historical building that is the Guildhall, right in the heart of the city of York.”

“The renovated Guildhall will offer fantastic opportunities for collaborative working to support business start-ups, drive innovation and growth, and strengthen links between the University of York and partners in York and beyond.”

“I look forward to seeing how the facilities at the Guildhall will be used by students and new businesses to support and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, including opportunities to promote social enterprise and charitable work for the benefit of the local community. All of this chimes directly with our commitment, as a University for Public Good, to work with like-minded partners to bring positive impact for our society.”

Solicitors Lupton Fawcett acted on behalf of York Science Park and the University of York to negotiate the lease. Sarah Temple, commercial property partner at Lupton Fawcett said: “This reinvention of the historic city-centre Guildhall complex celebrates the building’s heritage, while creating a unique business facility for York’s many innovative businesses. It was a pleasure to support the York Science Park team and we have no doubt that this latest reincarnation of this ancient building will be a huge success.”

The future of the Guildhall 

The Guildhall is set to become a physical representation of the University of York’s vision for growth in community partnerships and will be where enterprise development, and individual and collective transformation will begin. 

Operated by York Science Park, it will exist as a place where great minds co-locate and businesses unite organically, and a place to facilitate knowledge exchange: where conversations start, people connect and skills collaborate.

The Guildhall lease is an enormous stride toward giving back to a city and community which has so richly supported the University over many years.


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Find out more about The York Guildhall.

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