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BOT approves new project for student housing

Rendering for prorposed Andros Village construction project

New student housing on campus is one step closer to reality following approval from the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) on Thursday.

What will be called the Andros village, the new housing project will be completed through a public-private partnership between the university and private contractors and is expected to replace the existing facilities in the Andros area with a new village-like layout for more than 2,000 students.

Now with BOT approval, the $133 million development must go before the Florida Board of Governors (BOG).

Though it is not clear if or when the BOG will approve the project, the board members will meet in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom next week to discuss guidelines for public-private partnerships — an issue that could decide the future of the USF housing project, as well as any future projects of similar scope at universities throughout the state.

In a statement to The Oracle, BOG Communications Director Brittany Davis said board members are still refining what they are calling “P3 guidelines.” In the agenda documents for the upcoming BOG meeting, 21 guidelines are mentioned, including outlines for terms of leasing and project debt.

If approved, the housing project has an expected completion date of June 2019 over two phases. Phase I would begin in May 2016, with the demolition of four Andros residence halls and construction of the new buildings beginning that summer. Phase II will begin in May 2018, starting with the demolition of the remaining five Andros buildings and then the construction of the final parts of the village beginning in summer 2018.

The new village, which would replace the existing dorms built in the ’60s, would feature semi-suite and traditional style beds, a health and wellness facility, a pool, dining facilities and there are also rumors of an on-campus Publix included in the project.

In the BOT’s approval, the university will enter an agreement with Capstone-Harrison Street, LLC. This is a combination of Capstone Development Partners, LLC, an Alabama-based organization that specializes in student housing developments that has worked with more than 60 colleges and universities nationally, and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, a Chicago-based organization.