Dartmouth has signed an agreement with a private developer to begin planning an approximately 300-unit graduate and professional student apartment complex on property the College owns on Mt. Support Road in neighboring Lebanon, N.H.
Michaels Student Living, a division of the Michaels Organization in Camden, N.J., will submit preliminary documents on the project to the city of Lebanon at the end of the month. The Lebanon Planning Board has scheduled a conceptual design review of the plans at its Jan. 13 meeting. This will be the first time board members have considered the project.
The approximately $50 million development, which is expected to accommodate at least 500 people, could house one or more graduate and professional students in an apartment, or be home to a student and their family. Graduate and professional students would have priority in renting the units, which will likely be offered as furnished residences.
The project timetable has the apartments available for rent in the fall of 2022. They would be housed in four buildings, with a central community building and several small outbuildings also on the site.
"This is a new kind of project for Dartmouth, and we are glad Michaels is getting started on the planning and design work," says Josh Keniston, vice president for institutional projects and interim vice president of campus services.
As the College works on a long-term agreement to develop the residences, Dartmouth officials are also working on plans to renew aging undergraduate residence halls, Keniston says.
The College won't pay to develop, build or maintain the graduate apartment project, and rents would be paid by tenants to the developer. Dartmouth will retain ownership of the land and lease it to the developer in a long-term agreement. The 53-acre property is about 3 miles from campus and is located on the east side of Mt. Support Road, just under a mile from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Dartmouth's agreement with Michaels is for pre-development work, including planning, design, preliminary permitting, and soil testing on the property. The College is in talks with Michaels for a long-term development agreement, Keniston says. He adds that Dartmouth is tapping the expertise of a private partner to develop and run the complex, enabling the institution to focus its resources on its core educational mission while providing high quality housing for graduate students.
A meeting will be held in January to give graduate students a chance to learn more about the project. A date for the meeting hasn't been set.
The Sachem Village neighborhood, which Dartmouth built and owns, is currently the largest development for graduate and professional students. Located off Route 10 in Lebanon, it has 255 units, with a total of 527 beds in one-, two-, and three-bedroom dwellings. Currently, about 30 percent of Dartmouth's more than 2,000 graduate students live in College-owned housing.
Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at [email protected]