NEW PALTZ – Students, local residents, and business leaders participated in tonight’s Town of New Paltz public hearing at Town Hall on the proposed Park Point New Paltz living community at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz.
In conjunction with the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, Rochester developer Wilmorite proposes to build and operate Park Point – a 732-bed purpose-built student and faculty housing community. Park Point would be located on 42 acres adjacent to the campus on State Route 32S.
“This is a significant step forward in the approval process and we are encouraged by the broad support that Park Point has received. We have been working with the town and campus community since 2009 and recognize the importance of public participation in review of the project,” said Tom George, Wilmorite’s Director of Business Development.
About 20 local residents, students and business owners spoke in support of the project at the public hearing and many others mailed letters of support to the Town Planning Board. Wilmorite and SUNY New Paltz hope to secure final approvals early next year and to complete the first phase of the project by August 2014. Another public hearing is scheduled Nov. 19.
Completion of the Park Point project will mean that on-campus or adjacent housing is available for approximately 60 percent of the College’s undergraduates, up from about 50 percent now. SUNY New Paltz has not been able to provide on-campus housing for transfer students since 2007, in part because many of those who arrive as first-year students stay in the residence halls during their time here, according to College President Donald P. Christian. About half of the College’s graduates each year are transfer students.
“Every year we turn away prospective transfer students – many from Hudson Valley community colleges – who want the residential college experience we provide,” Christian explained. “Park Point will enable many more SUNY New Paltz students to have the opportunity to take part in the rich life of a residential college campus. Expanded housing options are critical for our ability to serve students well, and for the continuing success of the College in an era of intense competition for the best and brightest students.”
On-campus residents have convenient access to professors, the library, recreational facilities, intramural activities, social events, guest lectures, clubs and organizations, and leadership opportunities within the vast residential community. Although most of the programs and activities are open to commuter students and they are continually encouraged to participate, experience and data reflect that those who never live on campus often fail to develop the close connections to the campus community that are so important to their personal, social, and academic development. Park Point will also offer about 30 units of townhouse-style residences for new faculty and staff who have similar difficulty finding proximate housing that enables them to become an integral part of the residential college community. Park Point would feature 10 buildings for students and three buildings for faculty, along with a clubhouse that will house management offices, a fitness center, group study rooms and a resident lounge.
“We believe this project will help the College fulfill its need for additional student housing and provide safe, purpose-built apartment-style housing for students and staff,” said George. “We intend to continue to work closely with the town to address all questions and concerns about Park Point, which we believe will be a great asset to the college and the greater New Paltz community.”
Total project development costs are estimated between $45 million and $50 million. Construction of Park Point will bring an estimated 215 jobs with a one-time impact of $12 million in earnings. The annual economic impact is expected to create almost $4 million in local sales, 10 new jobs, and over $400,000 in wages in the town and village annually, adding to the college’s annual overall impact of $338 million in the Hudson Valley.
ABOUT WILMORITE: Wilmorite is a leading commercial real estate development and management company based in Rochester, N.Y. A family-owned business with more than six decades of experience, the company has a reputation as one of America’s top builders, construction managers, and property managers. Wilmorite has built over 5,000 student beds for colleges and universities throughout New York State and currently owns and operates 1,200 student beds at Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse University.