UT Meets Growing Housing Demand with Proposed Knoxville Place Purchase

KNOXVILLE — In an effort to add more apartment-style housing to its residence hall offerings and to meet the demand of a growing student body, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will seek approval for plans to purchase the Knoxville Place development near campus.

The proposal is part of an overall plan to upgrade and expand housing on campus to accommodate increasing enrollment. This year, a little over 4,300 freshmen enrolled, up from about 4,200 last year.

The university is seeking to purchase Knoxville Place from the UT Foundation Inc. The high-rise apartment complex was built in 2004 and financed through about $60 million in bonds. The purchase price is expected to be about $56 million based on the UT Foundation’s outstanding debt minus the amount in reserves, which is not to exceed the fair market value as determined by an independent appraisal.

The UT Foundation is expected to vote on the proposal at its meeting on Sept. 17. If approved, it would then go before the UT Board of Trustees’ executive and compensation committee on Sept. 19.

If approved, Knoxville Place is slated to be open for upperclassmen in fall 2008.

“It’s been many years since we have constructed a new residence hall, and it is imperative that we continue to upgrade our offerings for students,” UT Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree said. “This purchase and other ongoing and planned renovations are helping us do just that.”

Knoxville Place is currently managed by Place Properties, which will continue to operate the property in the short-term and transition the property to the university over the next year.

Knoxville Place is located on White Avenue behind the College of Law and has capacity for 782 students in seven levels of housing. Each apartment has private bedrooms, a kitchen, washer and dryer, and some furniture.

It has five levels of parking with 652 spaces, which will be added to the university’s parking inventory. The property also includes 2.28 acres of land.

Other Housing Projects Ongoing

A $20.5-million renovation of the Laurel Apartments from graduate housing to apartment-style undergraduate housing is under way. It is expected to reopen next fall.

With the new and renovated housing available, the university will close Melrose and Strong halls for residential occupancy at the end of this academic year.

The Laurel Apartments renovation and Knoxville Place purchase net about 950 more units to the university’s housing offerings for next fall.

UT also has announced plans to add a 700-bed residence hall near the campus center, and construction on that $40.5- million project is slated to begin in the 2008-09 academic year.

Renovation of other existing residence halls is continuing. A $7.1-million renovation to the “H” section of Hess Hall recently was completed. It increased electrical capacity for student use, replaced all floor tile and carpeting, modernized bathrooms, upgraded the existing heat/smoke detection system and replaced all student room furniture. Both entrances and the main lobby of the facility were reconfigured, and a courtyard and amphitheater were added adjacent to the Joe Johnson and John Ward Pedestrian Mall.

The Tennessee State School Bond Authority and the State Building Commission also must approve the Knoxville Place purchase.


Contact:

Tom Milligan, vice chancellor for communications, (865) 974-9438, tom.milligan@utk.edu