Dec 18th 2014 | Posted in Education, P3/PPP, Vertical by Government Contracting Pipeline

Facing a growing demand for student housing at the University of Connecticut (UConn) has forced university officials to be a little creative. As a result, the university’s Board of Trustees has authorized UConn officials to negotiate an agreement to buy the Nathan Hale Inn. University officials would like to use the inn, which is located on UConn-owned property, to help meet the residential housing need.

UConn Interim VP for Administration & CFO John Biancamano

UConn Interim VP for Administration & CFO John Biancamano

John Biancamano, (pictured) interim executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer at UConn, urged the board to look into the purchase of the inn. He said in a memo to the board that it would be “a cost-effective way of meeting some of UConn’s short- and long-term student housing needs.”

The inn has been privately owned since 2001, but the university has leased close to half of the rooms for student housing since the 2014-15 academic year began. If the deal goes through, university officials expect that the facility would transition to being completely student housing over time.

In addition to providing immediate housing relief, officials say the price to purchase the facility would be lower than building a new dorm. It also is close to other university residence halls.

UConn is looking at a purchase price of approximately $8.3 million. An additional $648,000 would be needed for code compliance costs, overdue maintenance projects and other items. That would bring the total cost to just over $9.1 million. Another $2.6 million in maintenance and repairs would likely have to be performed in the near future. The inn could house up to 280 students.

Because of lease agreements with the inn, UConn cannot build or promote construction of another competing hotel within 15 miles of the campus until 2050. That would be even more incentive to purchase the inn. That would constitute the end of the lease and allow UConn to consider other options, including the possibility of a public-private partnership to develop a hotel.

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