Homebuilder, LDS Church will bring hundreds of new apartments to the U. of U.
Over the next century, thousands of future University of Utah students from disadvantaged backgrounds will be comfortably housed on campus and well-fed throughout their learning, thanks to a special land deal expected to generate $1 billion. student aid dollars.
Ivory University House is where they’ll live, a 552-unit community with green spaces spread across four buildings on the southwest corner of South Campus Drive and Mario Capecchi Drive, a busy intersection on a car-centric campus as desperate as the rest of Salt Lake City for new housing.
An aging Latter-day Saint chapel was torn down and scrapped from the site, which was packed Friday with cheering people, building materials and red and white balloons draped over digging equipment ready for a first shovelful of soil.
The project at approximately 1780 E. South Campus Drive will span 5.6 acres of the approximately 31 acres owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is presented as a gift that will continue to be given, thanks to an innovative collaboration between the U., the church and the Clark and Christine Ivory Trust.
Ferris wheels have been turning to U.’s latest student housing development for nearly 10 years, and by 2023 the first building will be in place for a one-of-a-kind, perpetually funded living complex at the flagship University of Utah.
Designed as luxury digs by most standards, with well-appointed features, shared spaces, courtyards, attention to safety and wellbeing, and plenty of student support, the apartments are also under development. so that their proceeds can be donated to generate financial support for many of the students who call them home.
“It’s going to be cool, a great place to live,” said Clark Ivory, a U. alum and former board trustee, but high-end studios wouldn’t be “full of a bunch of kids affluent.
“It is our goal,” he said, “to ensure that at least 25% of students at Ivory University House will come from the most financially disadvantaged families.” These children will also receive housing assistance to help them live there, the U confirmed.
“We can’t wait to see them prosper,” said Ivory, who also runs Ivory Homes, Utah’s largest homebuilder. He added that with housing “a critical need during the pandemic”, the family’s charitable foundation “is now prioritizing student housing”.
Keep students on campus — with more housing
But, as clearly elated US President Taylor Randall joked to a crowd of church leaders, property managers, US administrators and elected officials gathered at Friday’s event to celebrate, “Wait! That’s not all!”
He called Ivory University House ‘truly innovative’ and ‘more than just a housing project’ – while Randall said he worries daily about students on a housing waiting list of 3,400 names, with approximately 4,400 units currently on campus and 1,682 to be built by 2024. .
The partnerships behind Ivory University House are aimed directly at helping to alleviate this crisis, Randall said, as the U. is trying to evolve away from being “a suburban campus” and into a new, more residential model loosely called “University Town”.
Students who commit to living on campus do 10% better at graduating, the university president added – “trust me on that” – and said the 552 new rooms at the Ivory University House were an important step towards this longer term change.
The key players behind the new housing project have scoured the country for the past few years looking for the right funding model to make it happen and perpetuate it, which Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall described as one of its most striking features, as well as creating a pipeline of inspired future thinkers and leaders.
“Think of the perpetual and catalytic projects they will create in Utah and around the world,” the mayor said. “It’s more than affordable housing, much more.”
Role of LDS Church in the project
All but a few of the approximately 150 people who attended the event on Friday are likely to be outlived by the project’s approach to funding and the philanthropy behind it.
The LDS Church is essentially donating the former chapel site for 99 years, under what’s called a land lease, on a piece of land that Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé called “so strategic to the campus. “.
As the idea emerged, the church grounds allowed it to play a key role in “a vision that will bless so many lives,” Caussé said, with a high-quality environment, spiritually inspiring and safe,” and also a place where people will find a motivating environment that will help them pursue their studies.
Describing the residential environment as a kind of elevated life, Caussé said church president Russell Nelson, also a university alumnus, and other Latter-day Saint leaders were “enthusiastic about it” and found the project inspiring.
“There’s full support there,” said Caussé, who oversees the faith’s extensive financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations.
The Ivory Trust is donating $24m for an annuity of sorts bolstering the long-term deal – plus $6m in seed funding for programs to help apartment-dwelling students succeed in school – and that is of course where the U. also comes into play, with what will be called “Complete U”.
It is a related blueprint started by the Ivory Donations and forged by the U. to keep more students on campus and in classes year-round.
Overall, the agreement behind Ivory University House will provide money to help up to 50,000 students over the years with housing and nearly double that number will benefit from scholarships, housing allowances and resulting internships. By 2025, it will generate at least $1 million a year in student support, eventually reaching $1 billion over its lifetime.
Although run under the same general rules as other halls of residence at U, the accommodations will be different in other respects.
Smoking, drug and overnight guest bans will be in place, as with other dorms, but the property will be owned by Ivory University House and operated by a property manager. Students eligible to live in the studios will sign one-year leases. Three-quarters of them will pay market rent, while the other quarter will receive housing allowances and other support.
The new housing will also be closely tied to new initiatives to help students, both financially and with a healthy living environment designed to help them succeed holistically. The approach goes far beyond “just focusing on success and money and that sort of thing,” said Christine Ivory, wife of Clark Ivory and partner in managing the family trust.
She called it “a place where the spiritual life is respected, academic pursuit is supported, psychological needs are addressed, and physical discipline is expected.”
The apartments will have private bathrooms, kitchenettes, large windows, wooden floors and study areas, she said. Each building will also have gathering spaces, a wellness center and activities such as meditation, yoga, art studios, a video games room, television, kitchen and rooms community, etc.
“These are amazing amenities,” said Christine Ivory, “I would be very happy to move in.”