Gilbane Development Launches Brown University Student Housing

Ground has been broken on the first purpose-built student housing community in Providence, R.I.
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Providence, R.I.—Ground has been broken on the first purpose-built student housing community in Providence, R.I. The Gilbane Development Company’s 257 Thayer will offer off-campus housing for undergraduate and graduate students at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

Sophisticated and sustainable in design, 257 Thayer will be located between the campuses of the two institutions. Brown University is steps away, while RISD is only half a mile removed. The site of the student housing community boasts an enviable 91 “walkscore” on Walkscore.com. It is within steps of destinations favored by students, including restaurants, shopping and transportation.

“[The development] will bring students back closer to the campus in a top location that will help revitalize Thayer Street, within an easy walk to all nearby attractions,” Gilbane Development Company CEO Bob Gilbane tells MHN.

“It will also add a building with a distinctive architectural character reflective of the input of numerous community stake holders,” he says. “The all-inclusive nature of the project is unique in this market area. These units are fully furnished, include all utilities and allow students to lease by the bed. That means students’ financial responsibility is only for their own bed-space, unlike many apartments or rental houses where a joint lease is signed. It’s a new concept for the area and one we feel will be very convenient for the students.”

The 267-bed, four-story community will provide 95 suite-style apartments with one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The fully furnished living units will feature private bedrooms and bathrooms and hardwood-style floors. Full kitchens will include granite countertops, stainless Energy Star appliances, refrigerator and microwave. Each unit will also have washer-dryers.

Students will be able to relax in the community’s clubhouse room, featuring multiple high-definition televisions and gaming tables. Other amenities will include a fitness center, group study rooms, generous bike storage, high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi. A landscaped courtyard with fire pit and barbecue will beckon to students seeking to socialize away from their own suites.

As a multi-purpose facility, 257 Thayer will provide retail space on Thayer Street’s frontage, as well as an underground, 75-space heated parking garage.

Environmentally friendly in its construction and management, 257 Thayer will feature paint with low VOC and low emissions, electric car charging stations, bike storage and high-efficiency systems. Solar power will serve up to 10 percent of the building’s power needs. In keeping with the U.S. Green Building Council’s rigorous requirements, 257 Thayer will benefit from pollution prevention during construction, and utilization of low-emitting materials and water-efficient fixtures.

The goal of Gilbane Development Company is to achieve LEED BD&C for New Construction Silver Certification for 257 Thayer.

One of the biggest challenges facing Gilbane Development involved the area’s historic past. “College Hill has a notable collection of beautiful historic architecture,” Gilbane says. “We worked with stakeholders including the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the Providence Preservation Society and the City Planning Commission over an 18-month period. The result was modifications to the building footprint and exterior façade, which reflected input from these various groups.”