By Rachel Leber
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) in West Lafayette has one mission — to serve Purdue University. Starting in January, PRF’s efforts to serve the university became visible for all to see when construction began on a new private apartment complex for the campus.
PRF made its announcement about construction beginning on Jan. 9 with newly formed joint venture Balfour Beatty Campus solutions and Walsh Investors. Hanbury based out of Norfolk, Va., is the architect on the project, and construction is a joint venture between Chicago-based Walsh Construction and Smoot Construction, based out of Indianapolis. The complex is projected for completion by August 2019.
“The Walsh Construction and Smoot Construction Joint Venture is excited to be part of this innovative project, and Walsh is extremely pleased to continue to expand our growing relationship with Purdue University,” said Sean Walsh, president of Walsh Construction, in a recent statement.
The 835-bed apartment complex will be the first facility in a $1 billion development called Discovery Park District, located on the west side of the Purdue University campus, and will be called Aspire at Discovery Park. The apartment complex will be located on five-acres on the south side of State Street. While the apartment complex is private, the cost to rent will be comparable to a residence hall, and the residents of this facility will be 90 to 100 percent student-occupied.
The four-story, three-building, 387,000-square-foot complex will include studio, two-bedroom and four-bedroom apartment styles. In addition to the apartments, the complex will have 18,000 square feet reserved for community and retail space in the building.
“It is certainly a milestone to break ground on the first of many developments in the Discovery Park District,” said Jeff Kanable, director of the Discovery Park District (formerly called the Purdue Innovation District), in a recent statement. “In just a few years, this area will feature modern living, learning, shopping and dining for Purdue students and the surrounding community.”
The Discovery Park District is a partnership development between the Purdue Research Foundation and Browning Investments and is designed to “provide a pre-eminent environment for educational, economic, cultural, community and real estate development,” according to Kanable.
The 450-acre district will eventually feature 7 million square feet of interior building space, including a hotel with conference center, restaurants, retail and office and business spaces. In addition, the district will include parks, research facilities and industrial space. The entirety of the project is planned to take place over a 15- to 20-year period, with the Purdue Apartments being the first step in this long-term goal.
In addition to serving the Purdue students, all of the developments in and around Purdue University and West Lafayette are carefully planned to support and complement each other and “advance Tippecanoe County as a destination to live in and visit,” according to John Dennis, mayor of West Lafayette.
“The Balfour Beatty team is excited to be the first major construction in the transformation of the west side of the Purdue University campus,” said Bob Shepko, president of Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, in a statement. “Aspire at Discovery Park will be situated in an ideal location for residents to take advantage of all that this new development will offer.”