A privately owned and operated student housing complex planned for the University of Toledo’s main campus would take the place of three recently demolished university residence halls.
The UT Board of Trustees gave university officials approval Monday to lease about three acres on the campus’ northwest corner to Alabama-based nonprofit Collegiate Housing Foundation, which plans to build a 494-bed suite-style housing complex. The planned complex — set to open in August, 2015 — would be geared toward honors students, and joins a crop of privately built student housing in the area, though this project is the only one with direct ties to UT.
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The site is the former location of the 330-bed Dowd-Nash-White residence halls, which were demolished this summer. The new complex will be part of an “Academic Honors Village,” university officials said. Nearby MacKinnon Hall was renovated this year, and renovations are planned for Scott and Tucker halls.
The goal is to establish essentially a minicampus, creating a cohesive, aesthetically appealing area near West Bancroft Street and Campus Road, where many of UT’s most historically significant buildings rest, said Scott Scarborough, UT provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
It’s also the next step in UT’s plan to physically overhaul the edges of its main campus, similar to its Gateway project at Dorr Street and Secor Road.
“One of the things we’ve been fighting for years is the perception that some elements outside our campus are unsafe,” Mr. Scarborough said.
Under the arrangement, Collegiate Housing Foundation will own the structure, and contract with real estate investment trust American Campus Communities to develop and manage the property. A lease amount for the property is not determined and a finalized agreement about the arrangement is to be finished, said Matt Schroeder, the University of Toledo Foundation’s vice president for real estate and business development.
Mr. Schroeder said a final design and cost estimate for the structure are not complete.
Under the proposed arrangement, students would be steered toward the complex if they are honors students and then sign individual leases with American Campus Communities. The university would pay nothing for the complex and could gain revenue if the project is successful, Mr. Schroeder said.
About half of UT’s student residential space is the traditional dormitory model, with students on a floor sharing a bathroom. The renovated dorms, demolished buildings, and new housing complex would increase the percentage of residential space using a suite-style model, something students desire, Mr. Schroeder said.
The university’s 3,600 student beds are about 81 percent utilized, according to minutes of Board of Trustees’ meetings, and a new private housing complex could increase competition. Mr. Scarborough said UT’s housing plans ultimately would reduce on-campus beds because the university plans to possibly demolish Carter Hall and replace that dormitory with baseball fields.
The new housing complex will face competition from at least two private projects on the campus’ edge.
A developer has plans for a 143-unit, 486-bed apartment complex at the southeast corner of Bancroft and Westwood Avenue. Another private firm is developing a 200-unit, 596-bed apartment complex at the southeast corner of Dorr Street and Westwood.
Those two projects have no connection to the university, but are geared toward UT students.