Strathclyde University's Glasgow townhouse put up for sale amid 'financial crisis'

Strathclyde University has put its £380,000-a-year principal’s official residence up for sale amid rumours of financial crisis.

The Glasgow based university put Sir Jim McDonald’s townhouse on the market earlier this month for £1.3million. The sum is close to what was paid for the property in 2013 before giving it a controversial £350,000 makeover.

At the time of the purchase officials claimed it would be a “long-term investment” but it is now believed the property is being sold due to increasing financial pressures, reports the Sunday Mail.

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A report from accountancy giant PwC warned falling international student numbers and rising wage bills have left ­universities facing a perfect storm. It said 10 of Scotland’s 15 universities are at risk of falling into a financial deficit by 2027.

A source said: “The principal’s townhouse now looks like an extravagant purchase which can no longer be justified. It’s a beautiful ­property and eye-watering sums were spent on furnishings and renovation at the time.

"There are a number of other teaching buildings in the city which are being mothballed. The university is adamant this is nothing to do with financial pressure but everyone knows that costs have to be cut because the money just isn’t coming in like it was 10 years ago when Strathclyde and others embarked on major new building programmes.

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"The problem is that for various reasons – Brexit being the most obvious one – there is not the same volume of foreign students arriving to pay high fees for a respected Scottish degree.

“Many Scottish young people are also realising going to university is often likely to result in a huge amount of debt and worse job ­prospects than other options such as apprenticeships and vocational college courses. The PwC report was a wake-up call and it is very likely that there will be mergers in coming years to avoid closures.

“The biggest and best-known ­universities will weather the storm – Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews – but others are going to struggle.”

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The Park Circus townhouse was bought by the university for for £1.2million and despite being in pristine condition, it was decorated with items including a £1180 chair, £4000 wardrobe and £3400 worth of sofas.

A university spokesman said: “This asset disposal is the result of a regular review of our estate. The University of Strathclyde continues on a strong financial footing.”