United Group to build 268-student housing by 2017

Tyler McNeil

Managing Editor

“ASAP,” responded President Drew Matonak after a college trustee member asked for the groundbreaking date of student housing construction at their monthly meeting last week.

Later in the meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to sell the Hy Rosenblum Administration Building property to the United Group over competing bidder Hudson Valley Stargreen.

“I think the college and the committee really agree that we really do have an important interest in making sure that this place is managed and that we demonstrate to the public that we really were diligent to make sure this is properly managed,” said Scott Ely, attorney for the college.

The decision needs to be approved by the county legislature.

The United Group, lead by Michael Uccellini, submitted a $268,000 bid to acquire the property, according to their request-for-proposal response submitted last November. Hudson Valley Stargreen was outbidded by $42,000.

Demolition is expected to cost over $1 million. In the event that the United Group is able to save money on demolition costs, the site’s cost would increase up to a maximum of $482,000.

Before the United Group obtained approval from the Board of Trustees, both bidders went through a nearly two-month review process from the college. The bid was originally scheduled to be awarded in mid-December, but was delayed.

According to Ely, the college moved towards approving the United Group partially due to their experience developing student housing and regional partnerships. “[Hudson Valley Stargreen] is outsourcing from out-of-state, and they don’t have half the experience, or even a quarter of the experience, that the Uccellini Group has,” said Ely. In order to build the site, the United Group is expected to coordinate the project with Architecture Plus and LeChase Construction Services of Rochester.

“Student housing is very a tough, very marginal class of business. You have to know what you’re doing,” said William F. Fagan, college trustee. The United Group hopes to erect a four-story, 72-apartment building within one phase.

Over this past decade, the company has developed and operated student housing near RPI. “If we come close to that over here, it would be a huge plus,” said Fagan about the United Group’s Citystation near RPI. The United Group has developed student housing across the region, including Schenectady ($15 million) and Albany ($70 million).

Interest for student housing at Hudson Valley dates back nearly a decade. Two years ago, the college issued a Request-for-Proposal for companies to submit plans to use the Hy Rosenblum Administration Building property for student housing. The project was ultimately awarded to Omni Development.

The project was originally expected to be open for students by fall 2016, but was delayed when Omni Development struggled to finance the project. By September last year, the college decided to cancelled the project with Omni Development.

By Sep. 22, the Board of Trustees voted to sell the property to accelerate student housing. Currently, the college aims to have student housing completed by June 1, 2017.

As we expand our recruitment activities around New York State and travel abroad to boost international student enrollment, we’re looking forward to having a new opportunity for living and learning near campus,” said President Drew Matonak in a statement.

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