Memphis—Student housing developer EdR has begun construction on a multi-building living-learning community on behalf of Northern Michigan University (NMU), marking the university’s largest project in its history.
NMU conducted a competitive selection process and chose EdR to complete all aspects of the project, including developing, financing, constructing and managing the community in Marquette, Mich.
The community will replace “a significant amount of Northern Michigan’s student housing,” Mark Grambergs, EdR vice president of real estate development, told MHN. “When complete, Northern Michigan will have fully modern, living-learning centers with modern amenities, additional classrooms and comfortable social spaces that will help attract and retain students.”
Upon completion, the community will include residence halls totaling more than 1,200 beds, which EdR will operate under a 75-year lease with NMU. EdR will also manage the residences while NMU will provide residence life services.
EdR is also footing the bill for the $80 million project through its ONE Plan, which uses the company’s equity to fund projects on university land. The ONE Plan financing also “allows Northern Michigan to focus its debt capacity on construction projects that benefit its core academic mission,” Grambergs explained.
The student beds will be built in multiple phases and are scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2017 and the fall of 2018. The residence halls will also include internet and Wi-Fi capabilities, study rooms, classrooms, TV lounges and laundry facilities. There will also be various common areas like a large patio area, fireplaces and lobbies that can accommodate shows, student events and other types of entertainment for residents.
“I think the enhanced on-campus housing is an incredibly positive, transformative opportunity for Northern,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “It is going to allow us to greatly strengthen our capabilities to recruit and retain students in today’s highly competitive education environment, enrich student life and address a very serious facilities and maintenance issue.”
The new community also contributes to the university’s priority of recruiting, enrolling and retaining more students, EdR President Tom Trubiana said. “Partnering with NMU provides EdR the opportunity to deliver another on-campus housing community that gives the university both a state-of-the-art home for many of its students and a recruiting tool that will compete with any in the nation.”
“Universities across the country are looking to expand their enrollments while also seeking to replace their decaying student housing,” Grambergs added. “Both those scenarios are favorable for continued expansion of our on-campus business. Off-campus, students are showing a desire to live in the kind of highly amenitized, pedestrian-to-campus communities that are a staple of EdR’s portfolio.”
EdR is keeping busy this year, with other current projects including its $22 million development of a residence hall for Shepherd University, $80 million housing project for Cornell University and a $90 million joint-venture project to build two student housing communities at Michigan State University and Texas State University.