WVU agrees on $70 million residential, retail complex in Sunnyside
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 12:10
Three days after the West Virginia University Board of Governors announced its decision to approve a $14.6 million deal on more than five acres of land in Sunnyside, the University announced its plans for “University Place,” a $70 million residential and retail complex that will begin construction as early as December and is expected to be completed in fall of 2014.
The University entered into a long-term lease and development agreement with Paradigm Development Group LLC, a private firm; the complex will feature two multi-story buildings on three acres of land between University Avenue, Grant Avenue, Third Street and Houston Drive. An additional two acres facing University Avenue across the street from the building will host parking for residents and retail customers.
In addition to approximately 980 beds, the complex will host 29,650 square feet of retail space that would include a full-service grocery store, a fitness center, community outdoor space and other perks, as well as 195,000 square feet of parking – which according to the University’s press release – would equate to an additional 400 parking spots.
Narvel Weese, WVU Vice President for Administration and Finance, said the tasks “University Place” will accomplish will be a great boon for students.
“To live and shop in a neighborhood that’s walkable to campus academic buildings, the library, student center, campus transportation system and downtown Morgantown – that’s going to be amazing,” he said. “The area is strategically located next to current WVU Housing ... and is just a couple blocks from our Downtown Campus, making it the ideal location to enhance our housing master plan while beautifying this blighted area of our city.”
WVU President James P. Clements called the move “a win-win for our community and students,” and said the plan will “transform the neighborhood and create many positive benefits moving forward.”
Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla said the development will have a “positive impact on our economy and on our entire community for years to come.”
Manilla, who suggested imposing a potential additional fee for students to deal with the recent uprising in student riots, also said he thought the plan might help curb inappropriate activity in Sunnyside.
“As the project takes shape, it should also help eliminate the street and trash bin fires, plust the celebratory riots the area has been known for,” he said.”
Students who currently live in construction areas will be forced to relocate for the Spring semester, and West Virginia University will absorb any increase in rent expenses. University officials will immediately begin contacting renters in affected areas to provide assistance with moving.