Princeton University

2005 – 15 CAMPUS PLAN

U3A was first engaged by Princeton to assist the University to launch a campus-wide planning effort to accommodate growth while preserving the campus’s park-like quality and pedestrian scale. To help Princeton select a design and consulting team for this effort, U3A wrote and released an RFP that articulated the University’s vision for its campus, identified core planning principles, and framed a series of development challenges. U3A assisted Princeton to evaluate proposals, interview candidates, select a team, negotiate the contract, and develop a budget for the campus plan.

Master Plan for Graduate Student, Faculty, and Staff Housing

U3A prepared a master plan for Princeton’s off-campus housing program, which included an assessment of housing demand; a review of “best practices” and peer experience in the design, development, and management of housing; database analysis of Princeton’s existing inventory and the “all-in” cost per unit of housing; and an analysis of ways to expand housing capacity through new acquisitions, redevelopment, and developer partnerships. U3A also assisted the University in preparing a bid for a major development parcel located near Princeton’s campus, and facilitated a number of meetings with potential development partners. U3A analyzed master planning options for the renovation and replacement of housing over a 10-year timeframe, projecting capital budget and operating cash flow and impacts to housing capacity. Princeton completed implementation of the housing plan in 2015 with the opening of Lakeside Apartments, the last of three major graduate student, faculty and staff housing projects.

Real Estate Portfolio Study and Report

In 2006, Princeton engaged U3A to complete an analysis of all of the University’s real estate holdings, which was used to help the Trustees decide whether individual properties should be held for investment, used for campus growth, sold or acquired. U3A analyzed transaction history, investment returns, development capacity, and political considerations of each property or group of properties, in order to formulate options and recommend disposition or acquisition strategies. The Trustees adopted the report’s recommendations, which have been used to guide real estate decision-making since 2006. U3A prepared an updated and expanded real estate report in 2012.

2016-26 Campus Framework Plan

In 2014, U3A helped Princeton to select the design team for its 2016-26 Campus Framework Plan, which was formulated concurrently with the University’s Strategic Plan and capital budget. Unlike Princeton’s previous campus plan, the 2016-26 plan addressed all lands, both on- and off-campus that are owned by the University. U3A prepared the real estate components of the Campus Framework Plan. Our scope of work included regional economic analysis; an investigation of the local housing market and impacts on Princeton faculty, staff, and graduate students; and analysis of mixed-use development feasibility at different sites along the campus edge.

Housing Affordability and Availability Analysis

In support of the 2016-26 Campus Framework Plan, Princeton engaged U3A to perform a housing affordability and availability analysis focused on its employees and graduate students. The engagement was part of a larger effort by the University to recruit and retain top tenure track faculty, provide proximate affordable housing options for faculty and graduate students, build campus community, and reduce the University’s carbon footprint.  As part of this analysis, U3A illustrated where University employees and graduate students live against the backdrop of larger regional economic trends and evaluated potential affordability impacts on University employees and graduate students based on their salaries and the housing market. U3A also completed an intensive GIS-based real estate and demographic scan to map and analyze housing supply and demand, rental vs. owning cost burdens, housing values and new developments and provided recommendations to help the University achieve its goals.

Hotel Demand Analysis and Financial Feasibility Study

U3A also worked with Princeton to determine the feasibility of developing a hotel and conference center on University-owned land in an effort to active a new mixed-use node adjacent to campus while also satisfying Princeton’s conference and lodging demands. U3A undertook a hotel demand analysis, which included a review of competitor hotels and their historic and projected operating performance as well as projected demand from the University and visitors in order to determine the unmet need for hotel rooms in the geographic catchment area. Informed by the demand analysis, U3A then tested the financial feasibility of multiple development options using residual land valuation analysis. U3A also reached out to a select group of hotel developers in an informal “friends and family” process to receive market feedback and further explore the feasibility of developing a hotel conference center on campus.

Lake Campus Graduate Student Housing Development

As part of its comprehensive 2026 Campus Plan, Princeton identified lands it owns in West Windsor Township between Lake Carnegie and Route One as an area for future campus development, referred to as the Lake Campus. This new campus will support a variety of activities related to the University’s research efforts, academic programs, administrative needs, and innovation initiatives, along with athletic and recreational uses, graduate student housing, and parking. Princeton seeks to “anchor” the first phase of Lake Campus with 500 new beds of housing for graduate students to be developed in partnership with a private developer, who would develop, own, and operate the new housing. Princeton engaged U3A to manage the developer selection process and advise the University on the optimal transaction structure to develop the new beds. The University is in the process of selecting a developer, following a RFP process coordinated by U3A.