SU to build huge dorm complex south of campus

Salisbury University will break ground on the largest facility in campus history this fall, converting the former Court Plaza Shopping Center and Temple Hill Motel sites on Route 13 into a 750-bed student housing complex.

Comprised of three separate buildings connected by a central courtyard, the first building in the five-story, 323,371-square-foot complex is expected to open in August 2021, with the remaining two following in 2022.

Cost is projected between $70 million and $80 million.

“Since the SU Foundation purchased these properties in 2017, we have been excited about their potential,” said Jason Curtin, SU Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs and Foundation Executive Director.

“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,” Curtin said. “With that objective in mind, we are very happy with the renderings we have seen so far. We also are pleased that we will be able to offer this new living space to our students using no state appropriations.”

With more than 200 residential units, the facility is expected to feature amenities such as increased green space, a fitness center, bicycle storage and a connecting pathway to the south end of campus. It also will include limited retail areas, providing new options for SU and the community.

The complex will replace the student residential space lost with the university’s pending closure of Chesapeake and St. Martins halls, and eventually Dogwood Village.

Built three to four decades ago, that housing is reaching the end of its lifespan, Curtin said.

The co-developers are an affiliate of Greystar Real Estate Partners, a national leader in rental housing and manager of the SU-affiliated University Park student apartment complex, and Gillis Gilkerson of Salisbury.

“We are excited to continue our 18-year partnership with SU and the SU Foundation to create a transformational campus gateway that will elevate the University’s profile and enhance the student experience,” said Julie Skolnicki, Greystar Executive Vice President for university partnerships.

For the project, the foundation has been working with the consulting firm Margrave Strategies of Columbia, Md. The architect is Design Collective of Baltimore. The builder is Harkins Builders of Columbia. Civil engineering is provided by Becker Morgan Group of Salisbury.

The property, purchased last year for $6 million, is located one block from the SU campus.  The 8.6-acre site is nearly 375,000 square feet, with a corner lot, over 500 linear feet of frontage along Route 13, and easy access via multiple roads.

One of the development goals is a signature building designed to mark the arrival into the city and the university from the south.

The move will bolster the campus footprint to its largest size to date — more than 200 acres.

“The mission of the Salisbury University Foundation is to accumulate funds and investments that enrich the educational programs and activities benefitting SU and its students,” said Bob Moore, Foundation Board chairman. “The location of the properties, fairly contiguous to campus, was significant. It gives the university flexibility in the near and long term future for growth and expansion.”

The seller was Delcon International. A Chinese investment company registered in Delaware, it purchased Court Plaza in July 2014 for $4.1 million. The Temple Hill property was purchased for an additional $2.15 million.

The developers’ intention was to establish retail and residential units there, in the Kay Avenue and Pine Bluff Road vicinity. The concentration was to be on student housing.

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