University College Cork has agreed to buy an inner-city site from co-op giant Dairygold for €17.25 million.

The 1.46 acre riverside site between Copley Street and South Terrace in Cork city centre is to house the university's Business School and accommodate 4,000 students and 200 staff.

The contracts were signed today for the acquisition of the site which was bought in 2008 by a Dairygold-related company for €15 million.

In a statement, the Dean of Cork University Business School, Thia Hennessy said the new building will allow CUBS grow their student numbers and offer students and staff world class facilities.

Dairygold Chief Executive Jim Woulfe said the sale is in line with the Co-op's strategy of maximising the value of its "non-core property assets" to facilitate investment in dairy business initiatives.

The site currently has planning permission for a five-storey office building with atrium and basement.

UCC confirmed it will now be seeking planning permission for a change of use from office to education and will also be seeking approval for an altered design.

It is hoped the transfer to the new campus will take place in time for the start of the 2023 academic year.