Westchester County’s LDC Provides Incentives for New SUNY Purchase Dorm Project

John Jordan | October 2017

County Executive Robert Astorino

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester Local Development Corporation has approved $36.4 million in low-cost financing for Purchase College-SUNY to construct a new residence hall on its campus.

The financing approved at the LDC’s Oct. 19th meeting will be used build a four-story, 80,000-square-foot residence hall, consisting of 300 beds in a suite-style configuration with student common areas and resident advisor accommodations, Westchester County officials state. The building, which will be designed and constructed to meet LEED Silver or better standards, will be located on a four-acre parcel of land near the college’s other residence halls and educational facilities.

A Purchase College-SUNY official says the new residence hall is necessary to meet the growing demand for housing on the campus, noting that occupancy of the existing student housing is typically 98 percent full during the fall semester. Purchase College currently has approximately 2,200 student beds. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2018 with occupancy in fall 2019. The project will create approximately 350 construction jobs.

“We are very pleased that our LDC can help assist Purchase College, one of the county’s great academic institutions,” says Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino. “This low-cost financing will help the college provide attractive, new student housing and at the same time create jobs and boost the local economy.”

The LDC approval grants tax-free status to the bonds that will be issued for construction in connection with the project, which provides thousands in savings to the college from lower interest costs. The financing carries no cost or obligation to the LDC or the county, LDC officials note.

“Purchase College-SUNY is very excited about moving ahead with the new dorm,” says college spokesperson Betsy Aldredge. “As the demographics have shifted from a primarily commuter campus to a campus where the majority of students reside on campus, it has been an ongoing challenge to provide housing for all who wish to live here.”

“This new 300-bed dorm, which will consist of junior suites, will allow us to move students from triples to doubles, therefore improving their residence experience. At the same time, the new dorm will give us flexibility to convert spaces now used as living quarters into academic spaces, and to renovate some of our older housing stock,” she continues.

Aldredge says the LDC bond financing will include all of the funds required for the project, including the cost of construction, furniture and equipment, financing costs and other project costs such as for inspections and professional fees.

A Request for Qualifications was issued in May of this year and a shortlist of three qualified firms were selected who answered a Request for Proposals that were submitted by all three firms on Oct. 2. Aldredge says the selection process was scheduled to be concluded the week of Oct. 23. The project will be delivered utilizing a Design/Build format.

The LDC provides low-cost, tax-exempt bond financing for non-profit organizations. From 2013-2015, the LDC provided more than $430 million in tax-exempt financing to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and social service agencies. It has helped to renovate critical infrastructure expansion for non-profits, which has created more than 1,500 permanent and construction jobs since 2013.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth