By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney hosted a “First Look” event Wednesday for the new Village Flats project in the University Village development.
Construction of the million residence hall started in April, and the 130-bed apartment-style complex is planned for completion in summer 2018.
Chancellor Doug Kristensen recognized campus and community leaders involved with the project, as well as University Village board members, builders and architects. Student Regent Austin Partridge also spoke.
“Today is a long time coming and highly anticipated by me and others like me who have carried this vision in our heads for the past decade or so,” Kristensen said.
“This village is a campus that will combine our Kearney-area community with the academic vibrancy of a university – where people live, learn, play, work and shop together.”
Village Flats is the first “rooftop” on the 104-acre mixed-use, public/private University Village development. The apartments are one-bedroom (450 square feet) or two-bedroom (700 square feet) units and will rent for $650 or $800 per month, respectively. Upperclass UNK students and graduate students have priority placement in the residences, along with University of Nebraska Medical Center students, visiting and new faculty.
“University Village will become a unique urban setting in a rural Nebraska community,” said Kristensen. “It has the potential to draw many new businesses, organizations, retail shops and residences into a central location adjacent to the university. Our view is this Village will be the home to many new opportunities for Kearney and rural Nebraska.”
Village Flats is located at 2201 University Drive. It is on the south side of Highway 30, directly south of the Health Science Education Complex and UNK’s West Center.
Estimated at between $400 million and $500 million when finished, the entire University Village project could take between 15 to 20 years to develop. The development will feature retail, office, academic facilities, recreation space and housing. UNK is partnering with private and other business entities on the project.
University Village is a pedestrian-oriented “walkable” community with public gathering spaces. In addition to approximately 680 residential units, projects planned for the area include a recreation complex with indoor track and tennis center, outdoor tennis courts and a softball complex.
Contractors will break ground in spring 2018 on the Early Childhood Education Center, a $6.4 million, 17,800-square-foot project. The center will have a capacity for 152 children from infant to age six.