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Wayne State University to add Housing & Retail

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003

WSU project has housing for faculty, grad students

South Village goes with plan to boost college enrollment


By R.J. King / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Wayne State University, looking to boost enrollment, will soon seek developers to build graduate student and faculty housing at Woodward and Canfield, just north of the Whitney Restaurant.

The so-called South Village project will have ground-floor retail stores topped by three or four floors of housing. In recent years, more urban colleges have been adding housing to boost enrollment and retain students, according to the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C.

"We've added 820 beds in two new residence halls (since 2002) and we have a waiting list," said WSU President Irvin Reid. "Those new students helped us increase enrollment this year by 6 percent, or just under 2,000 students."

The Wayne State project, which won't have a final cost or size until a developer is picked in early 2004, will fill another gap on Woodward in time for the 2006 Super Bowl. The city plans to have most of the three-mile stretch from downtown to New Center occupied in time for the game at Ford Field, said Detroit official George W. Jackson Jr.

The city is scouting for up to $14 million to add new sidewalks, street lights, landscaping and benches to that stretch of Woodward, said Jackson, president of Detroit Economic Growth Corp. a quasi-public development agency in Detroit.

During a walking tour of WSU's 33,000-student campus Monday, Reid said he planned to pursue other campus housing projects. Helen Newberry Joy, a former student services building, will be replaced with a 10-story residence hall for up to 900 students.

The $45-million project, slated to be completed in 2005, will join a $15-million renovation of the neighboring Student Center, Reid said.

Other area universities are adding student housing. University of Detroit Mercy plans to add up to 200 residences at its downtown law school campus by 2007. Lawrence Technological University in Southfield recently added a $12 million residence hall for 225 students.

You can reach R.J. King at (313) 222-2504 or rjking

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