College Suites is expected to break ground this summer after over a decade of planning.
According to the United Group, demolition of the Hy Rosenblum Administration Building is expected to begin within several weeks. The hope is that the site will be completed by next year and opened to students by fall 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.
The first phase began late last month after County Executive Kathy Jimino approved the resolution for the sale of the land several days after its passing through the county legislature.
“I think housing is a huge part of what this campus is really missing,” said Faculty Student Association Student-at-Large Robert Lee Song.
Despite over a decade surveying the potential for dorms, it wasn’t until 2013 that the college approved the first bidder, Omni Development, to lease the property. After struggling to finance the project to construct student housing, the board of trustees decided to sell the property to accelerate construction.
The board of trustees decided to sell the property to the United Group in January after several months of seeking a new developer.
“United Group fosters positive relationships with the school’s appointed personnel to ensure we are in line with the vision and mission of each campus,” said Corinne Ellis, United Group public relations coordinator in an email.
College Suites at Hudson Valley will be the United Group’s thirteenth student housing project. The company has also created student housing near RPI. The United Group has developed student housing across the region, including Albany ($70 million) and Schenectady ($15 million).
The project is expected to cost $20 million, while 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.
The Hy Rosenblum Administration Building has neighbored Hudson Valley since the college moved from downtown Troy in 1960. After 20 years, the college purchased the property to open up administrative office space. Since the Administration Building was completed in 2007, the building has been unoccupied.
Richard Edwards, physical plant director, looks forward to the site’s construction due to safety concerns from the nearly 80 year old former monastery.
“As it gets older and people start to do things over there, somebody could get hurt,” he said.
Since the building was abandoned, criminal activity has been frequent on the property. Trespassers would often enter the building to steal copper piping and wiring.
Along with criminal activity, the Edwards anticipates less activity from the physical plant around the building. Despite having been vacant for nearly a decade, the physical plant was responsible for maintaining the property.
“In addition to having to maintain the grass over here, we had to maintain the grass over there,” said Edwards.
Despite the United Group occupying the space, the college still maintains the 2,000-square-foot pressure house next to the building. The site will be under contract with the New York State Weatherization Directors Association until 2023.