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Media Contact:  Susan McKinsey, 277-1807
Benson Hendrix, 277-1816

May 11, 2010

UNM Regents Give Green Light to South Campus Housing
American Campus Communities to break ground in June

The University of New Mexico Board of Regents has unanimously approved terms of a ground lease that will allow American Campus Communities (ACC) to begin construction on an 864-bed student housing community west of the Pit.  This approval culminates a process that started more than two years ago with a Request for Information advertised to developers, owners and managers of student housing to determine how and where to best add new housing to meet a growing student demand.

Terms of Ground Lease
Regents approved a lease term for ACC of 40 years with three additional options of 10 years each.  In the first five years of the agreement, ACC’s rent paid to UNM will grow from $333,643 to $375,518.  In subsequent years, the rent will be 5.7% of gross revenues but no less than $350,000.

ACC will develop and construct the estimated $40 million project at its own cost by August 2011.  The ground lease may be terminated by UNM if ACC fails to commence construction by August 1, 2010.

UNM is free to provide any residence hall housing (unlimited), or other student housing that is not similar to nor will have an adverse economic impact on ACC’s south campus project. The university may also be able to build a directly competitive project if an independent study shows demand.   The university can also renovate or replace existing dorms.

Additionally, should ACC decide to sell the property within the first 10years, UNM will have first right to purchase it.  UNM can also exercise its right of purchase at any time after 10 years and upon a contemplated transfer by ACC.

Echoing the comments of several regents that the housing is needed, student regent Cate Wisdom said plans for recreation and study facilities within the ACC project will make for an active living and learning center for upperclassmen who currently seek off-campus apartment or house accommodations. “Students will be able to engage in the community they live in,” said Wisdom.

Need for More Housing
The need, importance and benefits of new housing at UNM have been established for several years. An undergraduate student housing report conducted in 2006 concluded improved and expanded student housing would greatly contribute to improved retention and graduation rates.  A market analysis conducted by Brailsford & Dunleavy the following year identified demand for 1,900 new beds with the first priority to develop housing appropriate to address the needs of the undergraduate student population.

 In 2008, the Student Life Master Plan echoed the need “to enhance and improve current facilities that are old and outdated and provide students of today the ability to enjoy fully integrated services, activities and facilities.”  Additionally in 2009, the report from Moody’s Investors Services agreed with UNM that expanded and improved student housing was a critical competitive priority.

South Campus Housing Project Description
The new student housing community will be located in the area south of Avenida Cesar Chavez, west of the Pit and east of Interstate 25. Construction is expected to start June 1, 2010 and the community will be housing students starting in August 2011.

Students will be housed in furnished apartment units complete with high-speed Internet and private-bedroom, private-bathroom accommodations. Four individual rooms are joined by a central living and learning area, and these units will then join together to create larger living areas.

A community center for the complex will be located near Avenida Cesar Chavez. This center is designed to be the “heart and soul” of the new housing community. The center will be connected to UNM’s main campus via a shuttle loop and will include management and residence life paraprofessional functions for the community, a leasing center, study rooms, computer labs, recreation center and other places for students to socialize.

The housing center will be consistent with the university’s Pueblo Revival look and will include open spaces with xeriscaped landscaping. The development will be energy efficient as well, meeting the United States Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards.

The new student community will be approximately 18.5 acres in size, and will include $1.6 million in roadway infrastructure improvements to the area. The total expected project cost is approximately $40 million and no taxpayer or university money will be used.

"This is the first exciting step in dramatically modernizing the student residential experience at UNM," said Jason Wills, ACC senior vice president. "We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with the University of New Mexico and look forward to supporting the university in achieving its academic and student development objectives."

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The University of New Mexico is the state's largest university, serving more than 32,000 students. UNM is home to the state's only schools of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture and operates New Mexico's only academic health center. UNM is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation.
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