University of Bristol takes over Habitat store in Clifton

Beacon House which housed last year's Gromit trail exhibition
Image caption Last year more than 25,000 people visited Beacon House for an exhibition of 81 painted Gromits

The former Habitat store in Bristol which has empty for the past three years is to be turned into a study hub for university students.

The four-storey Grade II-listed property will provide 350 study desks and separate areas for group working.

A University of Bristol spokesman said it also planned to include a cafe, bookshop and bank in the building.

Work to convert Beacon House is due to start later this year.

Prof David Clarke, who is deputy vice chancellor for the university, said the building, in one of the city's best locations, would form a key part of its city campus.

Beacon House, next to the Royal West of England Academy, was constructed in the 1850s and was formerly the Queen's Hotel before being used for retail purposes - Gardiners in the 1930s, Debenhams after the war and more recently Habitat.

It was also used last year for an exhibition of 81 painted Gromit statues which had been dotted across the city during the summer.

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