Regents’ approval propels first University Village project

Size: 104 Acres
Location: South of The Buckle headquarters and southwest of UNK’s campus on the south side of Highway 30.
Scope of Project: Mixed academic, retail, office, residential, service and recreation “village” combining UNK, public/private investors and business entities.
Cost: $400 million to $500 million
First building: $16 million, three-story student residence hall to replace the aging University Heights. Includes 70 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom apartments. … Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2016, and earthwork could begin as early as this summer.
Funding: Funding for the new residence hall will come from $12 million in revenue bonds and $4 million from a UNK surplus fund.

KEARNEY – Following approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, projects at UNK’s University Village are now moving forward. The first construction project is the new replacement building for University Heights residences. This coincides with the development of a new governing structure for the village project, also approved at the April 10 meeting. Infrastructure development for the site will begin in the next several weeks.

Central Greenspace Rendering WebThe board on April 10 approved the program statement and bonds for a three-story, $16 million, 130-bed residence hall that replaces University Heights Apartments, a 1960 structure north of campus for married students. The new apartments will include 30 two-bedroom and 70 one-bedroom units. The apartment project will be ready for occupancy in fall 2017 and will be the anchor building for the village.

Following completion of the new University Village apartments, existing University Heights (1701 W. 35th St.) property will be sold. It is phased out because its age and needed improvements make renovation cost-ineffective.

University Village is a 104-acre site south of UNK’s main campus and is planned as a mixed academic, retail, office, residential, service and recreation “village” combining UNK and private and business entities. It’s a community where university faculty, staff and students, retirees and others wanting to locate near the amenities offered can live and work adjacent to campus, in townhouses, apartments and single-family dwellings, and have walking access to neighborhood businesses.

A master plan was developed and released in 2013 following extensive evaluation of community and campus needs, and the project can be developed in phases over several years as needs and investors are identified. The site is prime real estate on Highway 30 south of UNK’s West Center building and the new Health Science Education Complex, a collaboration with University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Also approved April 10 is a governing structure for the University Village project. It will be overseen by a board that will consider proposals from developers, carry out the project vision, manage and make project decisions for the village.

Developer qualifications and proposals are being solicited from interested developers, and are due by April 30. Developers and investors can visit for information on submitting interest in development.

Barbara Johnson, UNK’s vice chancellor for Business and Finance, said the housing project and overall village development project continue to elicit interest from the community.

“University Village presents numerous future development opportunities including a child development center and mixed-use retail, office, academic facilities and housing projects,” Johnson said. “As we move forward with our ideas, plans and opportunities, University Village will be a popular project with developers. The apartment complex will provide students with much-needed alternative – and attractive and conveniently located – housing options. This is an exciting step.”







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