Baltimore Business Journal
By: Melody Simmons
An aged Eastern Shore motel and shopping center in Wicomico County will soon give way to an expansion of Salisbury University.
A 750-bed student housing development is set to break ground in the fall and will be the largest residential complex ever built on the rural campus, said university spokesman Jason Rhodes. The cost of the project is between $70 and $80 million and will be funded through the sale of tax-exempt bonds to private investors later this year, Rhodes said.
The development will serve as a new southern gateway to the campus off of Route 13 and have more than 200 units with multiple bedrooms. Amenities will include retail, a fitness center and bicycle storage.
It will replace the Court Plaza Shopping Center and Temple Hill Motel, both purchased by the nonprofit Salisbury Foundation Inc. in 2017. The motel has been demolished and the shopping center will be razed in the coming months after all retail tenants move out, Rhodes said.
"One of our goals is to develop a signature facility to mark the arrival into the city of Salisbury and the university from the south," said Jason Curtin, a vice president of advancement and external affairs at Salisbury University and also the executive director of the Saisibury University Foundation.
The new student housing will replace three dorms on campus — Chesapeake and St. Martin's Halls and Dogwood Village. Those buildings are about 40 years old and hold a total of 600 beds.
The new student housing will hold three five-story buildings that will total 323,371 square feet. It will be built around a courtyard and will connect a portion of the university to the town of Salisbury by converting the formerly commercial space into the university's campus.
The first phase is expected to open in August 2021 and the rest of the housing development is set to open in 2022, Rhodes said.
Co-developers of the project are Greystar Worldwide, LLC and Gillis Gilkerson of Salisbury. Harkins Builders of Columbia is the builder and Baltimore-based Design Collective Inc. is the architect.
The new student housing development is the second addition to the campus in eight years. In 2011, Sea Gull Square opened at Salisbury University with 600 beds and ground-level retail.
Salisbury's enrollment this year is 8,700 undergraduate and graduate students.
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