A university is expanding its operations.

The University of Brighton has acquired a building in Edward Street formerly occupied by American Express.

The property will be used for university operations rather than student residences.

The move follows the confirmation of an £8.5million contract to build new student housing on the edge of the city. ISG has been awarded the contract to construct 147 sustainable student units on a brownfield site at the edge of the South Downs.

The contractor has been awarded phase two of the University of Brighton’s three-phase, £33million Varley Park scheme, which involves the demolition of two existing 1960s student accommodation blocks and the construction of three replacements.

Meanwhile London-based Cathedral Group is working with the University of Brighton and Brighton and Hove City Council to redevelop Circus Street, Brighton. The plans, which are expected to include accommodation for 400 students, a university library, dance studios, offices and up to 200 homes, is expected to create 170 new full-time jobs and pump more than £150million into the local economy over ten years.

Phil Graves, managing director at Graves Jenkins in Marlborough Place, said: “We have provided strategic property advice to the University of Brighton for a number of years now, but the acquisition of both 154/155 Edward Street, and the adjacent Cavendish House in Dorset Place, furthers their commitment to the city centre and adds over 50,000 square feet of academic space to their portfolio.

“Couple this with the imminent commencement of the Circus Street development and I feel it underlines the importance of our student offer to the economy of the city.

“It is sure to have a positive impact to the retail area of St James Street and create an improved destination for business east of the Old Steine.”

A spokesperson for the University of Brighton said: “We can confirm the university has acquired the former American Express-occupied building at 154-155 Edward Street. “The acquisition forms part of the university’s expansion plans to respond to the ever changing nature of the higher education sector.”