As its enrollment continues to grow, the University of Minnesota at Rochester is looking to increase its supply of student housing.
Working with Titan Development, the health sciences university is proposing a plan to convert the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton, 150 South Broadway, into an extension of its downtown campus.
The proposal, which is expected to be presented to the U of M board on Thursday, would include the renovation and redevelopment of nearly 200 hotel rooms to support housing for at least 400 students.
The UMR says the building would also be used to meet other student needs, including recreation space. The university has been without a fitness center since the Rochester YMCA closed earlier this year. Other amenities to be offered in the building, according to a report submitted to the board, would include a swimming pool, study area and dining hall for the students.
If approved by the board, the lease would begin in August 2023 and run through 2035, with the university having the option to potentially extend the lease through 2041. The estimated cost of the lease would be approximately $3 million dollars per year, plus an additional $1 million. for property taxes and utilities. The rent would then increase by 1.75% per year. The university intends to pay for the cost of the rental along with student accommodation and board costs and recreation costs.
Titan Development, according to the proposal, would be responsible for making an initial investment of around $7.6 million to convert the 33-year-old building from a hotel to a student housing complex.
It was not immediately clear if or how a possible lease agreement with the university would impact the building’s current tenants, including the Pescara restaurant, which leases part of the first floor. Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias was unavailable for comment. A UMR spokesperson said the university and Titan plan to provide additional information on Friday.
The UMR, which welcomed its first class of 57 students in 2009, has continued to expand its presence in the city center in recent years. In addition to the top two floors of the Galleria, also owned by Titan, UMR has long-term leases at 318 Commons and One Discovery Square, as well as a shorter-term lease for student apartments at Residence at Discovery Square . He also spent millions of dollars buying land at the south end of downtown.
As it nears an enrollment milestone of 1,000 students, the university says taking over the DoubleTree building would allow it to continue its growth trajectory by increasing its ability to recruit freshmen.
Additionally, if the proposal passes, UMR plans to implement a second-year on-campus requirement for students. The university points to evidence that shows “housing on campus in structured living and learning communities promotes student retention and improves student academic outcomes, including timely graduation “.
Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.