West Virginia University and a private development firm Friday unveiled a $70 million plan to construct a two-building mixed use residential and retail complex in Morgantown with 980 beds for student housing.
The six- and seven-story structures will rise in Morgantown's Sunnyside district, two blocks from WVU's downtown campus. Word of a long-term lease and development agreement between WVU and Paradigm Development Group LLC follows Tuesday's vote by the school's board of governors to spend $14.6 million for roughly five acres of land for the project.
The development will be called University Place. It will rise within the boundaries University Avenue, Grant Avenue, Third Street and Houston Drive, officials said. The air-conditioned housing units will include private bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchens, Wi-Fi access and laundry facilities, the school said. A grocery store, restaurant, fitness center, outdoor space and a WVU police substation also are planned.
WVU president Jim Clements hailed the project, as did Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla, saying it eventually will help end street and trash bin fires and other disturbances that have troubled the area.
"This area is strategically located next to current WVU housing -- Summit and Honors Halls -- and is just a couple blocks from our downtown campus, making it the ideal location to enhance our housing master plan while beautifying this blighted area of our city," Narvel Weese, vice president for administration and finance, said in a statement.
"Just imagine -- to live and shop in a neighborhood that's walkable to campus academic buildings, the library, student center, campus transportation system and downtown Morgantown -- that's going to be amazing," he said.
The university has 6,062 student beds and faces demand for more modern housing near campus. The buildings will offer more beds for international, professional and veteran students, along with helping WVU accommodate growing freshman and sophomore classes.
Bill Schackner: email@example.com or 412-263-1977.