The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is moving forward with plans to build three new multiuse student housing facilities through a public-private partnership.
The new buildings will help meet the university’s short- and long-term housing needs, driven in part by growing enrollment. More students than ever are seeking to stay on campus longer, which is also a driving factor in housing demand.
The State Building Commission awarded the project to RISE Real Estate following the university’s request for proposals. It is the first housing public-private partnership approved at a university in the state of Tennessee. The new residential communities are included in the university’s updated campus master plan.
“The public-private partnership with RISE is an important step to help meet the student housing needs of our growing campus,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas. “These projects will add to the student experience as we modernize and expand our campus housing inventory. We are excited with our partnership with RISE and the opportunity to make this project a reality for the campus community.”
The three new residential communities built through the public-private partnership are expected to add 2,500 beds to the university’s housing inventory.
All three communities are expected to be seven stories. Two are planned in areas adjacent to current university housing.
The first along Andy Holt Avenue will include over 700 beds. RISE expects the project development to cost approximately $70 million.
The second, on Caledonia Avenue, is expected to have have over 1,080 beds. RISE expects the project development to cost about $110 million.
The Andy Holt Avenue and Caledonia Avenue communities will house first- and second-year students and are expected to open for fall 2025. The communities will feature fully furnished one- and two-bedroom suite-style units with en suite bathrooms. Both buildings will include office space for staff and lounge space for students.
The third residential community will be adjacent to Lindsey Nelson Stadium and is expected to open for the fall 2026 semester and will include approximately 750 new apartment-style beds. The single-building community will primarily seek to meet the increased demand from continuing students. It will feature two- and four-bedroom furnished apartments with extensive ground floor common space that will be programmed to complement the adjacent UT Baseball facilities. RISE is projecting development costs for this third housing component to be roughly $129 million.
The site will also feature an indoor practice facility that will complement other renovations and enhancements at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The indoor space could also be used for campus recreation use. This residential community is going to create a unique experience for students due to its close proximity to the stadium.
All three sites will feature similar architectural designs of full brick and roof colors that will seamlessly integrate the new buildings with the campus environment.
Pending state approvals, the projects will be delivered through a ground lease structure. UT will retain ownership of the land and RISE will develop, finance and construct the facilities, while RISE project team member and specialized national non-profit owner, Provident Resources Group, will own the project facilities for the term of the ground lease. The university and RISE will maintain the buildings through a long-term shared services partnership. The ground lease will include terms providing the university the option to purchase the buildings at a later date.
Students living in the residence halls will sign a University Housing contract.