UConn moves to expand in Stamford with additional rental units for students
STAMFORD — The University of Connecticut is moving to expand its satellite campus in Stamford, with plans to add more than 100 beds for incoming students less than a year after opening a new building downtown.
The UConn Board of Trustees on Wednesday signed rental agreements on nearly 30 apartments in two complexes at 87 Franklin St. and 75 Tresser Blvd. The Franklin Street building, now under construction, was wholly leased to the university, and will house 40 students. In all, the new units will add about 120 new beds for university students next fall.
UConn, which leases rooms to students in a 116-unit building near city hall, will pay a combined $1.1 million in rent per year. The university, in a statement, said it will recoup the costs by subletting to students.
“This is clearly a case of demand significantly outpacing supply in the best way possible,” UConn President Susan Herbst, said in a news release “We needed to work to meet that demand and provide housing for as many students as we can in Stamford.
“We began this experiment a year ago and have been delighted by how successful it is. It speaks to the value of good student housing, but also the value of the campus itself.”
Trustees built in a contingency plan if demand outpaces the 120 new beds to come on line next fall. If there are not enough vacant units in 75 Tresser — a new high-end residential complex built after the former Advocate building was torn down in 2011 — the university will lease additional units at 67/77 Prospect Street.
The university has been expanding its footprint rapidly to the applause of city officials, who think the new students add vitality and will fuel the city’s growth.
“I applaud the UConn Board of Trustees on their vote,” Mayor David Martin said in a news release. “The downtown UConn dormitory has already been a success in its first year and I am confident that additional housing will also fill up quickly ... students living on the Stamford campus is good for UConn, good for the students, and it’s good for Stamford.”
The university’s Stamford campus, with about 1,700 undergraduates and 600 graduate students, is slowly morphing into a more traditional university, not the commuter hub it has long been.
UConn estimates housing demand next fall will be between 400 and 440 beds, or 20 percent of the total enrollment, said spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz. The university knows that many students also live downtown and don’t commute by train or car, but it doesn’t keep count, she said.
The demolition of the university’s garage on Washington Boulevard highlights the shift. The three-story garage came down this spring, and will be replaced with a surface parking lot — for now.
Sandy Goldstein, president of the Downtown Special Services District, has said she hopes the university has more in store for the valuable land — appraised at nearly $24 million last year — although “I don’t think there are any plans afoot,” she said.
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