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Old Posted Dec 6, 2006, 4:33 AM
HX_Guy HX_Guy is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5,081
Regents OK dorm for ASU downtown

Ginger D. Richardson and Anne Ryman
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 5, 2006 06:06 PM

The Arizona Board of Regents has approved an Arizona State University plan to build more than 700 new student-housing beds in downtown Phoenix by August 2008.

The $100 million-plus project will be located on the northern end of the downtown Phoenix campus, just north of Taylor Street, between First and Second Streets.

It will be entirely funded by a private developer, who will, in turn charge students rent.

ASU is under a very tight deadline to deliver the project, which is considered critical to the success of the new campus.

Last year, more than 1,300 students from the College of Public Programs, the College of Nursing, University College and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism lived in on-campus housing on the Tempe campus.

By fall 2008, all of those programs will have moved to downtown Phoenix, where ASU currently only has beds for 260 students.

"It's a very tight schedule, but it's not impossible," said Rich Stanley, ASU senior vice president and senior planner. "We think it's doable."

The university expects mostly freshman to use live there in the early years.

But the project, which is being built in phases, will eventually contain as many as 1,300 beds, and will likely be used by sophomores and juniors as well.

The university has said that it is working with the developer, Alabama-based Capstone Management, to ensure that students who live there will pay rent commensurate with their counterparts on the Tempe campus.

It is currently talking about rates set at a maximum of $695 per month, for a 10-month lease. Rates would be higher for students who want their own room.

The property will feature a quad-style setup, in which two to four students in adjoining rooms will share a single bathroom.

But that might be a tough sell for students already living on the downtown campus, because they are staying in what used to be the Ramada Inn Downtown, and have grown used to having their own bathroom.

"Our rooms are really huge, and I like the set-up," said freshman Jenna-Lynn Stewart, who also said the rooms' balconies overlooking the Ramada's pool were a major selling point.

ASU has not committed to putting a pool in its new residence hall, but says the permanent housing will feature such amenities as wireless Internet access, academic support programs, meeting and gathering spaces and on-site food service.

In addition, the university is hoping to locate a grocery store, or perhaps a fast-food restaurant on the ground floor.

The financing arrangement is a little unusual; typically universities issue bonds to pay for such projects. But the state's universities have caps on their bonding capacity, which means there are limits to how much they can build at one time and still maintain a favorable bond rating.

Regent Anne Mariucci said this deal puts the financial risk on the developer, and warned that the Regents have no intention of bailing them out financially if the project doesn't work.

"If it fails, Big Brother isn't going to step in and take that debt on," she said.

However, ASU has made some concessions to ensure that the project is financially stable when it first opens, said Rich Stanley, ASU senior vice president and university planner.

For example, ASU has agreed to directly lease up to 15 percent of the available rooms, should the building not be fully occupied in 2008. The university's commitment is less in subsequent years, and ends after four years. It does not exceed more than $1.15 million in any given year, Stanley said.

ASU President Michael Crow said the new housing is part of a $3.4 billion plan to build and refurbish facilities that will eventually serve up to 90,000 students on ASU's various campuses. Nearly $1 billion of that is slated for student housing, and outside partnerships will be key to getting the new buildings in place, Crow said.

In a previous article, they have mentioned it is planned to be a 12-15 story building. I'm kind of curious on the two phase part of it and how that will work out.

Last edited by HX_Guy; Dec 6, 2006 at 4:44 AM.
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