University of Toledo

U3 Advisors was engaged by the University of Toledo Foundation in 2016 to forge a cohesive anchor strategy. Faced with stagnating enrollment numbers and underutilized assets, the University and Foundation sought ways to work together to enhance the on- and off-campus quality of life for faculty and students, unlock economic opportunities, and develop more vibrant campus edges to create a college town character. 

Interested in building on the success of the mixed-use Gateway development, the Foundation was contemplating developing land it had acquired over the last two decades. U3 Advisors was tasked with evaluating the Foundation’s extensive off-campus real estate portfolio to draw out a strategic course of action and determine which properties were prime for redevelopment, strategic holding, or disposition. U3A complemented this analysis with a scan of the University’s demographics, namely the housing demand generated by University faculty, staff and students. In order to analyze University residence patterns around campus, U3A geocoded and mapped the anonymous addresses of the entire university population, revealing preferences for certain neighborhoods and housing types. U3A then overlaid this information with publicly available demographic information and market indicia in order to create a comprehensive picture of the areas surrounding campus and to inform strategic real estate decisions.  Given the University’s goal to retain more students closer to or on campus, U3A evaluated the financial feasibility of a mixed-use retail and student housing project and provided a high-level plan for the Foundation to follow.

Working alongside Foundation and University leadership and the campus master planning team, U3A delivered recommendations to focus resources towards enhancing student areas with mixed-use development through target acquisitions, contemplate a research and innovation district to foster commercialization, and participate in a district-wide approach to placemaking with other community anchors.