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$47M project to add housing for students


A $47 million student housing development in Henrietta is slated to open in summer 2017.

The nearly 300,000-square-foot development on 56 acres will include roughly 80 cottage-style buildings housing 687 students.

The unnamed project on East River Road is being developed by MC-USL Ventures 1 LLC, a joint venture of Morgan Acquisitions LLC, an arm of Morgan Management LLC, and University Student Living LLC, which is part of New Jersey-based Michaels Or-ganization.

University Student Living creates housing designed, constructed and managed to suit the needs of freshmen, sophomore, upperclassmen, graduate and international students, as well as faculty and staff. It has such projects across the country, including one in the works in Buffalo called Twenty 91 North.

Tom George, vice president of development at University Student Living, said the local site is aimed at students who attend nearby Rochester Institute of Technology.

He believes the units, developed as a result of market demand, will appeal to area students.

“It’s a fresh, different style,” George said, comparing the residences to more traditional dormitory units in high-rise buildings. “It has a residential neighborhood feel.”

Jess Sudol, associate and civil engineering department manager with Passero Associates DPC, said the cottage-style project is unlike other privatized student housing options in the area.

Passero is providing engineering and architectural services on the project. Christa Cos. is the general contractor.

Residents can choose from one- to five-bedroom furnished units, ranging from 600 to 1,800 square feet. There will be an equal number of bedrooms and bathrooms in each residence and some of the larger units will be two-story structures.

Pricing for units has not been determined; they will be leased on a per-bed basis.

There are also plans to build a 7,500-square-foot clubhouse with an Internet lounge, an outdoor pool and a 2,000-square-foot recreation facility, along with outdoor fields and significant green space. A trail system is to be developed throughout the site, connecting to nearby properties.

George said the clubhouse is expected to be completed by late summer and it will serve as the leasing office. Marketing of the site will begin this fall, he added.

He believes the units will quickly fill up.

“From what we’ve learned from the market analysis, the demand (for student housing) is higher than what we are proposing,” George said.

Enrollment at RIT in the fall of 2015 was 18,606, a 3 percent increase from fall 2014 when enrollment was 18,063, data from the college showed.

“While RIT has a range of student housing options on campus, and will continue to do so, living in an off-campus apartment is a desired part of the college experience for some students, especially in their upperclass years,” said James Watters, RIT’s senior vice president of finance and administration. “As RIT’s enrollment continues to grow, these off-campus apartment complexes could be an attractive alternative for many of our students.”

David Christa, Christa Cos. CEO, said the project’s progress has gone smoothly, noting support from the town as well as the college.

“It has been a real team approach in developing…this project,” Christa said.

In October the project received a property tax abatement from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. It is expected to have state and regional benefits totaling $22 million, COMIDA records show.

The student housing site is adjacent to the proposed Riverwood Tech Campus LLC, a redevelopment project led by the Rainaldi family at the former Eastman Kodak Marketing Education Center.

The $19.4 million project on 150 acres will create modern space for as many as 20 high technology, assembly and light industrial tenant companies in four buildings totaling some 360,000 square feet.

Also slated for that site are waterfront improvements, a 250-person amphitheater and year-round food carts.

1/29/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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