The official signing of contracts for the former Waterford Crystal site today marks the last step in South East Technological University’s (SETU's) purchase of 20.3 acres of the iconic site.

The signing of contracts marks a significant milestone in the transformation of the site into a University/Enterprise Quarter, where academic activities will be integrated with enterprise initiatives, creating an economic and social impact.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD has today welcomed the signing of final contracts for the purchase of 20.3 acres of the 37-acre Waterford Crystal site for SETU.

“I am really pleased contracts have been signed and the Waterford Crystal site is now in the ownership of SETU. This acquisition has been a long-standing commitment for me since SETU’s formation back in 2022. Education has the power to transform lives and communities, and our technological sector has always played a crucial role in regional development.”

“I want to thank everyone involved - my Department, the Higher Education Authority, SETU, and Mr Noel Frisby for working together to make this happen,” Minister Harris said, “The history of this site is known and now its future is secure. That is down to the efforts of many people. I look forward to visiting again soon to discuss the exciting plans SETU has for the site.”

Welcoming the completion of the process, SETU President, Professor Veronica Campbell said, “The signing of contracts today is the final step in SETU purchasing 20.3 acres of the former Waterford Crystal site. This is a major step towards transforming the site into a University/Enterprise Quarter with academic activity co-located with enterprise.”

“It is exciting to imagine a site that was once an internationally recognised hub of creativity and industry be reinvigorated as a location for learning, research, and innovation,” added Prof. Campbell. 

Acknowledging the support of the capital projects team within the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Department, and the university staff, who played a crucial role, Prof. Campbell said all have been “instrumental in getting to this key stage”

“We have initiated development plans for the first academic building that will support our ambitions in the sciences, including SETU strengths in pharmaceutical technologies. Recognising the importance of this iconic site for local communities, SETU will undertake significant stakeholder engagement to inform the overall vision for future development. SETU looks forward to collaborating with Noel Frisby and stakeholders to deliver an ambitious project for Waterford and the south east,” stated Prof. Campbell.

Michael Walsh, CEO of Waterford City and County Council said, “I am delighted to witness this first and significant step in the redevelopment of the Waterford Crystal site. Waterford City and Council is excited to work with SETU, state agencies, and the developers to drive the development of the University/Enterprise Quarter. The future development carries significant regional importance and stands as a key milestone in the ongoing progress of SETU and the urban renewal of Waterford City.”

Noel Frisby, site owner and developer, commented, “We are delighted to reach this stage in the acquisition process. It has taken a tremendous amount of effort from all of those involved in getting to this point. We now look forward to continued collaboration with the various stakeholders in regenerating the area and creating long-term employment for Waterford and the south east.

“Reaching this key milestone will also allow Frisby to immediately advance development on the existing showroom building. Over the past few months and anticipating this positive milestone, we have been progressing the detailed design for the refurbishment and extension of this building, with a view to commencing on-site in the first half of 2024. This first building will pave the way for a modern University/Enterprise Quarter and create an iconic landmark building at the entrance to the City of Waterford.”

The former Waterford Crystal site extends to 37 acres and is located directly adjacent to SETU’s Cork Road Campus in Waterford. The acquisition of 20.3 acres for SETU on the site represents a significant opportunity for the future growth of the University, Waterford, and the wider region.