KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Three new multi-use student housing facilities are coming to the University of Tennessee as officials work to solve the university’s housing issues. The projects will be funded through a public-private partnership.
The state building commission awarded the project to RISE Real Estate, based in Valdosta, Georgia. It is the first housing public-private partnership approved at a university in the state of Tennessee.
“The public-private partnership with RISE is an important step to help meet the student housing needs of our growing campus,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas. “These projects will add to the student experience as we modernize and expand our campus housing inventory. We are excited with our partnership with RISE and the opportunity to make this project a reality for the campus community.”
The three new residential communities are expected to add a total of 2,500 beds to the university’s housing inventory. All three communities are expected to be seven stories.
One will be built along Andy Holt Avenue and will have approximately 750 beds. It’s expected to cost approximately $70 million. The second, on Caledonia Avenue, is expected to have over 1,100 beds and will cost about $110 million. The communities will feature fully furnished one- and two-bedroom suite-style units with in-suite bathrooms. Both of these communities will house first- and second-year students and are expected to open in the fall of 2025.
The third residential community will be adjacent to Lindsey Nelson Stadium and is expected to open for the fall 2026 semester. It will include approximately 750 new apartment-style beds, featuring two- and four-bedroom furnished apartments. It’s expected to cost roughly $129 million. The site will also feature an indoor practice facility that will complement other renovations and enhancements at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Pending state approvals, the buildings will be delivered through a ground lease structure. This means that UT will retain ownership of the land while RISE will develop, finance and construct the facilities. RISE and Provident Resources Group, a nonprofit, will own the project facilities for the term of the ground lease. The lease will also include terms giving the university the option to buy the buildings at a later date.
The university also secured additional housing through a five-year master lease agreement with Lakemoor Station Apartments in south Knoxville. This lease will add 192 beds to university housing this August. Additional units under construction are expected to be completed in January 2024.
The Lakemoor Station Apartments will feature furnished one-, two- and three-bedroom units and are about five miles from campus along Alcoa Highway. A UT transit service, which will also serve the Cherokee Farm Research Park, will be available to take students to and from campus.
More housing has been a growing need at UT as more students enroll and the university grows. During the UT Advisory Board’s January 2023 meeting, the need for housing was a big topic. In July 2022, UT leased the Holiday Inn Express on Papermill Drive to provide an additional housing option for transfer students. Earlier in 2022, the UT Board of Trustees said there was an “immediate need to construct new residence halls.”
These new dorms are also just one of many new buildings and expansions coming to UT’s campus. In 2022, the Board of Trustees approved a $227 million building to expand the Haslam College of Business.