By Linda Coutant
Appalachian State University and RISE: A Real Estate Company (RISE) signed final paperwork this week required for a multiphase, $191 million housing project that will replace seven residence halls.
“This is the largest capital project in Appalachian’s history, and we are looking forward to getting the first phase underway,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “It is an important step in our work to ensure we have an appropriate physical infrastructure to support our students, faculty and staff for years to come.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased to work with Appalachian,” RISE President Greg Blais said Thursday at the signing with Everts. “We look forward to the ultimate value the project will have for Appalachian students for generations to come.”
Through a public-private partnership, known as a P3, Appalachian will replace nearly 1,800 beds — and add 300–400 more — while also adding better, more efficient parking. The development of the entire project is planned in three phases, with completion dates of fall 2020, fall 2021 and fall 2022.
The university selected RISE to develop the on-campus housing through a competitive procurement process in 2018.
“Under this plan, we will lease the rooms from the developer, but I want to emphasize we will operate the halls like our existing residences — with residence advisors, housekeepers and room assignments handled by University Housing,” Everts said.
“We will build efficient buildings, and, at the end of the lease period, ownership of the properties reverts back to the university. University Housing is in outstanding financial shape, and this project will allow us to maintain that strong financial position.”
In phase one, which will cost $61,685,000, RISE will construct two residence halls on what is now the Stadium Parking Lot, totaling approximately 900 beds. Both halls are expected to open to students in fall 2020. The 475-space parking deck, being constructed at the site of the former Winkler Hall, should be open by this fall.
The ground lease signed this week between Appalachian and asset manager Beyond Owners Group (Beyond) is an agreement in which Beyond is permitted to develop Appalachian’s property during a lease period, after which the land and all improvements are turned over to the university.
The development agreement signed this week between Beyond and RISE obligates RISE for the on-time and on-budget delivery of the project and enables RISE to engage the general contractor of the campus project.
Through the P3, Appalachian will save more than $73 million over the cost of developing the property on its own, according to Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Paul Forte. The P3 is made possible by millennial campus designation.