LSU Gateway Development could be bundled with plan to replace aging on-campus dorms

The five firms submitting proposals for the LSU Gateway Development, a planned mixed-use project of student housing and retail space on Nicholson Drive, will also have an opportunity to bid on replacing six, 1960s-era residence halls on campus.

LSU’s housing master plan calls for replacing Miller, Herget, McVoy, Acadian, Broussard and Kirby Smith halls with some 2,100 new beds—an expensive process that could take 15 years or more. In late 2014, the university explored creating a public-private partnership as a way of accelerating the process but determined that approach was not cost effective.

With planning for the Gateway Project now underway, however, LSU is looking into whether bundling the two projects makes sense. The five firms that were selected to submit proposals for the Gateway Development—American Campus Communities, Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, Capstone Development Partners, Corvias Campus Living and RISE—have also been invited to submit proposals for a package deal that includes replacing the aging, on-campus dorms.

“The Nicholson Gateway development is an appropriate scale and has the market demand to be successful and profitable on a stand-alone basis,” says Sara Crow, a spokeswoman for the LSU Foundation, which is handling the Gateway Development on behalf of the university. “However, the provision of an option for submitting developers would allow for the LSU Property Foundation to determine if market conditions for a larger project scale would make different, more advantageous capital models available.”

Proposers will not be required to submit a bundled option. Presumably, however, a private developer that could make both projects happen at an attractive price and in fewer than 15 years would have a competitive edge.

“The LSU Property Foundation will use a process that allows industry responses to the RFQs/RFPs to drive the best overall outcome for the LSU community, including the parameters that the deal is economically advantageous and would not adversely impact LSU’s housing-related bond obligations,” Crow says.

Proposals are due to the LSU Property Foundation on Nov. 2. From those, a short list of finalists will be selected to visit the campus. The winner will be named in early 2016.

—Stephanie Riegel

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