Lafayette College in Easton is collaborating with Radnor Property Group and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital to build a $20 million mixed-use development at its campus, set to open for the fall 2020 semester.
The development will go up on a block of residential and commercial properties the college owns along McCartney Street across from the college between March and High streets. To clear the way for the development, the college demolished existing buildings, which were mostly homes.
The project, which does not have a name, would include residences for 165 students, primarily sophomores and juniors, with one, two and three to four-bed suites all with in-unit private or semi-private bathrooms.
The ground floor would include commercial space such as a college bookstore, café, and restaurant, in addition to gathering spaces such as an amphitheater and outdoor plazas.
Radnor Property Group and Harrison Street have selected Capstone On-Campus Management, a private firm based in Alabama, to manage and maintain the property once it opens.
David Yaeger, managing partner and founder of Radnor Property Group, did not disclose the length of the agreement or financial details.
But he described the partnership as being similar to a public-private partnership, but with all private players. Lafayette College is a private institution.
“Often the private sector provides its own capital for university bookstores, student housing … it’s a type of venture that’s quite common today,” Yaeger said.
In this instance, one firm will manage the facilities under the college’s domain, while the college will continue to own the ground. The private firm also owns the buildings and the improvements on top of the ground.
Roger Demareski, vice president of finance and administration at Lafayette College, said collaborating with entities that are familiar with designing and building non-institutional buildings can be helpful for colleges.
“You get expertise in building operations that many institutions are not familiar with,” Demareski said. “The partnership is not just a balance sheet.”
This project is the first part of a multi-phase plan at Lafayette College for projects along McCartney Street.