Cornell University

Student Housing Master Plan

In January 2016, Cornell’s Division of Student and Campus Life selected U3 Advisors (in partnership with Design Collective, Inc. and Demographic Perspectives) to develop a comprehensive student housing master plan for its Ithaca Campus. Currently, half of the University’s undergraduate students and the vast majority of its graduate/professional students live off-campus. This fact, coupled with a tight real estate market in Ithaca, NY, has resulted in the need to re-evaluate the University’s housing program and determine strategies for providing more on-campus housing that is attractive to students. Through a series of surveys, focus groups, interviews, community meetings and design workshops, the master planning team led by U3A engaged university administrators, staff, and Cornell students on how to best meet University’s future needs. The master plan, which is still under development, will guide the strategic planning and execution of student housing over the next decade. It will also lay the groundwork for the design and construction of new and renovated facilities that will meet current and future on-campus student housing needs and program priorities for undergraduate and graduate/professional students. As part of its work, U3A is responsible for developing a funding and implementation plan for the new projects, including the evaluation of a number of different financing structures.

Ithaca Campus Projects and Developer Selection

Beginning in 2013 Cornell engaged U3A to manage planning and developer selection for two projects on or near its main campus in Ithaca, New York. East Hill Village involves the redevelopment of an existing Cornell-owned shopping center into a walkable, dense, mixed-use “village;” U3A completed planning, feasibility analysis, and qualification of developer candidates and recently issued an RFP on behalf of Cornell. The second project, Maplewood, involves the redevelopment of an obsolete graduate housing complex; U3A managed an RFP process and is assisting Cornell to select finalists for further negotiation. Both projects involved significant planning, financial modeling and market analysis to determine the optimal program and partnership structure for the University.