Beginning in August 2009, Rensselaer students will have a new campus housing option in the heart of downtown Troy. On Feb. 12 the Institute launched a project that will convert the former Best Western Rensselaer Inn into a residence hall to house Rensselaer undergraduate students.
The project will expand housing options for Rensselaer undergraduates, while bringing approximately 300 students downtown to engage in the vibrant community of Troy. The new residence hall will be situated at the bottom of the Rensselaer Approach the granite staircase that symbolizes the connection between the City of Troy and the Institute.
The initiative is the latest step in Rensselaer’s continued investment in downtown Troy. When combined with Rensselaer staff members working in the Rice Building, Gurley Building, and Hedley Building, the addition of the students in the new residence hall will mean that more than 450 members of the Rensselaer community will be located downtown, near restaurants, shopping, cultural events, and other city activities.
Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson made the announcement at a Feb. 12 launch event on the site of the new residence hall. She was joined by New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino, and representatives from the project development team, which includes Blitman Building Corp., Columbia Development Companies, and BBL Construction Services.
“Our investments in the future of the Institute, Troy, and the greater Capital Region continue with this expansion of student housing into the heart of the city of Troy,” President Jackson said. “It is exciting to see how the extraordinary Renaissance at Rensselaer including the investment of $650 million in new construction and renovation on campus during the last nine years has contributed to the economic resurgence of Troy and the surrounding area.”
“Great things happen when the City of Troy and RPI partner together, and today’s announcement is yet one more example,” Senator Bruno said. “This development will allow RPI to expand housing opportunities for its student body, who in turn will be able to experience firsthand the revival and excitement that is downtown Troy.”
“This is the type of exciting project that is putting the City of Troy on the map around the country,” Mayor Tutunjian said. “The change from the Best Western Hotel into state-of-the-art student housing in the heart of downtown Troy is the finest example of integrating student life into the City of Troy in many years. I am thrilled with the support this project has received from around the community, and look forward to the positive impact it will have on Troy.”
“I expect this project to have a very positive impact as it further connects college students to downtown Troy and the shops and stores located there who will undoubtedly benefit from the increase in sales,” County Executive Jimino said. “As well, the project helps address the college’s needs for increased parking and student housing.”
The City of Troy Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board have approved the project, and the proposal has received strong support from the Troy community at large. The project was deliberately designed by Rensselaer to leave the property on the Troy city and school tax rolls.
The building will undergo a complete renovation and modernization, including replacement of the building structure and roof, installation of new safety systems, and upgrading of interior furniture and fixtures.
The existing hotel has 154 rooms and a total square footage of 78,500. In the new residence hall, 148 rooms will be used for student occupancy, and there will be an apartment for live-in professional staff and four rooms for resident assistants. All of the rooms will have private bathrooms, and there will be a food service facility on site.
The residence hall, which will only be used for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, is expected to be ready for occupancy in August 2009.
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