August 10, 2007
ATLANTA (August 10, 2007) – University Commons, the largest privately-funded university housing development in the United States, officially opened at Georgia State University in Atlanta this semester. Developed by RISE in partnership with the Georgia State Foundation Inc., the nearly 750,000 square-foot student housing project is now the on-campus home to 2,000 students.
University Commons is a product of Georgia State’s 2005 Strate- gic Plan addressing the goal to increase the quality of space and accommodate a growing and diverse student body, which now tops 50,000. The $168 million project was funded by the largest bond issue in the United States for student housing.
“RISE was instrumental in helping us finish the University Commons project early and under budget, and we hope to partner with them on future projects,” said Dr. Carl Patton, president of Georgia State University.
Upon completion of the project, Charles Perry, president of RISE, handed more than just keys to the building to Dr. Patton – he also presented him with a check for $110,000. The money will endow a scholarship for students living at University Commons majoring in real estate development, urban policy, or finance.
“We have a responsibility to the University to build the highest quality facility that serves their long-term needs,” remarked Perry. “We also want to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to us. We were honored to be chosen by Georgia State to partner with them on this project and we feel that this endowment will help to ensure that the residents of University Commons have the resources they need to become the future leaders in our field.”
The student housing complex is set on 4.2-acres in densely populated downtown Atlanta, transforming the urban area into a living-learning community for its student tenants. The development’s four mid-rise buildings, ranging from eight to 15 stories, offer students private, single bedrooms in two or four bedroom units. Although designed to house primarily first year students, the units also have designated space for upper-class scholars.
University Commons, which officially opened its doors to students on August 10, was designed to create a multifunctional complex that satisfies constantly evolving student needs.
“RISE is proud of its reputation for completing developments that serve the needs of the campus environment and the students that will call the project their home,” said Perry. “For this project, we were particularly driven by the June 2007 deadline. Because of the housing crunch created by the immense population of the city of Atlanta, we knew that without this complex, 2,000 students wouldn’t have had a place to live when school started this fall.”
While the development team has experience with large student housing projects of 1,000 to 1,500 beds, University Commons presented a unique challenge with a total of 2,000 beds. In addi- tion, the plan called for a centrally located 800-car parking garage and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space in the midst of a busy, urban environment.
The project’s design firm, Niles Bolton and Associates, decided the most sensible way to overcome these challenges was to bury the parking deck below ground and build a green roof on top of the deck, creating a courtyard in the middle of the complex. The green roof is just one of several environmentally-friendly ele- ments incorporated into the complex, all of which meet Georgia State’s requirements for sustainable, energy-efficient facilities.
The relatively low-impact of the development on the environ- ment does not mean that students will be without the comforts of modern-day living. Each unit includes furnished bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens and living area spaces, while every floor offers a community lounge space and laundry facility. Students can en- joy wireless Internet access and multipurpose conference rooms in designated spaces throughout each building.
In addition to serving as the home to 2,000 students, University Commons will serve other functions as well. The property is the site of the Georgia State University Health Clinic, a U.S. mail distribution center and various retail food outlets.