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Next phase of Jesus College’s Northgate site development begins


The next phase of Jesus College’s Northgate site development begins this month, with work scheduled to start on site in early March.

The latest milestone was reached after the final retail tenants left the site, allowing vacant possession to be taken by the College, and substantive works to begin. This follows the preparatory building and design work, which is already underway. It is estimated that the entire scheme will take two years to complete.

The new £36m development will ensure that Jesus College continues to lead the way in academic research and study, whilst embracing tradition and creating a public gateway for the College in the heart of the city.

This investment supports the aims set out in the College’s Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 to expand and enhance Jesus College, providing additional meeting, teaching, social and residential facilities, including 68 new student rooms.

A key element of the new building will a Digital Hub. The Hub will provide facilities to make the College a leader in the application of computational methods and techniques to academic research and knowledge exchange. It will also serve as an open and collaborative space, helping Jesus College to develop its outreach and access programmes and open up the College to the wider community.

The development, which is being designed by MICA Architects and will be built by BAM Construction, also involves plans to revitalise the retail space in Cornmarket and Market Street, creating new shops and regenerating the area.

This significant new development has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from Dr Henry Cheng and his company Knight Dragon, to help Jesus College realise its ambitions for the future.

The architects have been working closely with fellows, staff and students to come up with a modern design to replace the 1960s Northgate House structure and are very much looking forward to the completion of this landmark building in 2021, which will be another significant milestone in the College’s 450-year history.

Oxford City Council has been working closely with Jesus College throughout the development of the project and, during the design stage, recommended smaller retail units on the ground floor of Cornmarket Street and Market Street to better complement the independent retail quarter around Oxford Covered Market.

As part of the project, Jesus College will improve the public realm in Market Street between Cornmarket Street and the Covered Market service yard. The College will also provide the City Council with developer contributions to continue this work further along Market Street.

This work, alongside the new shops and the lowering of the walls along Market Street to better show off Jesus College, will open up and significantly improve the public realm in Market Street.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, said: ‘The new development is an exciting milestone in the history of the College, and will ensure that we remain at the forefront of academic excellence while making the College more open and integrated.

New retail spaces on the ground floor will help regenerate the city centre, and access via Market Street will help bring the College closer to the local community. We see this as an opportunity not just to embrace the future of learning at Jesus College, but to help improve and enhance the Cornmarket area of Oxford.’

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