Illinois State University has chosen preferred bidder for student housing project

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Illinois State University has selected Gilbane Development Company as the developer for a public/private partnership (P3) student housing development on campus. The student residential spaces built through the P3 project will help to meet the demand for on-campus housing, as well as the on-campus housing policy, and will introduce new living environment options for students in a responsible fiscal manner.

Gilbane Development Company, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the largest privately held family-owned construction and real estate development firms in the industry. It has extensive experience with P3 projects at universities across the country.

A feasibility study conducted in 2018 recommended that the University construct residence halls that would house approximately 1,200 students. A request for proposal (RFP) was issued this past December seeking a developer to plan, finance, design, and construct residential living spaces for up to 1,200 new beds and a dining center at a location on or near campus. The site for the new residence halls is on the land formerly occupied by the Aktin-Colby and Hamilton-Whitten Residence halls at the southwest corner of the University campus. Occupancy of the new residence halls is planned for fall 2021.

The P3 project provides a low risk business structure and a sustainable, long-term revenue stream for the University. No state funds, student fees, or tuition dollars are planned to be used for this project. At this time, the project has not been fully developed and an accurate estimate of cost is not available. Gilbane will work with investors to fund the project and the University will lease the land to the investor(s) for a long-term period up to 30 years. In time, the University will have the option to buy out the lease. Illinois State expects to develop an agreement to operate the residence halls, collect room and board, and pay the investor(s) determined fees. Illinois State’s Board of Trustees are aware and supportive of the project.

A similar P3 process was used to construct the University’s Cardinal Court Apartments, which opened in 2012. The University utilized the buy-out option six years into the agreement and now fully owns and operates that facility.

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