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New Residential/Retail Complex to be Named Drake West Village

May 3, 2007
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Speakers sign a beam before a crane lifts it into place. From left: Lauren Smith, Frank Cownie, Rick Tollakson and David Maxwell.

CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

The $37 million mixed-use housing and retail complex that Drake University and Hubbell Realty Company are developing at 30th Street and Carpenter Avenue will be called Drake West Village, Drake President Maxwell announced today at a construction kick-off celebration.

The name fits the project perfectly, President Maxwell said, because it will provide a village atmosphere on the west side of the campus where students can live, work, study and socialize while the campus community and its neighbors can patronize the new businesses in The Shops at Drake West Village.

Drake West Village was selected through a campus-wide contest in which 30 students and nine faculty and staff members submitted a total of 95 names for consideration. The winning name was selected by a committee of Drake student leaders and administrators and representatives of Hubbell Realty Company and then approved by President Maxwell’s Cabinet. Dorothy Chrzaszcz, a sophomore pharmacy major from Mount Prospect, Ill., submitted the winning entry. She received her prize -- an iPod -- at today’s construction kick-off.

The development consists of three buildings totaling 226,000 square feet that will provide housing for up to 500 students, primarily juniors and seniors as well as graduate students in the pharmacy program and Drake Law School. The students will live on the upper floors and new neighborhood businesses will occupy five street-level retail suites totaling 9,159 square feet. Hubbell Realty is seeking retail partners for the project that will appeal both to students and to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Members of the neighborhood associations in the Drake area have been involved from the start in the planning for the development, and Drake leaders have appreciated the community’s support. The project required the removal of 19 existing houses in the neighborhood  -- all of which were owned by Drake and most of which were used as rental properties leased to students. The University gave area neighborhood associations the opportunity to move any houses they wished to preserve.

“Drake is very pleased with the collaboration with community organizations and businesses to further the mutual interests of the University and community,” President Maxwell said. “This exciting project clearly demonstrates the University’s commitment to the continuing revitalization of the Drake Neighborhood. While enhancing the neighborhood, Drake West Village also will bring upper-class and graduate students into the heart of the Drake experience and will connect them to the community in ways that are mutually enriching.”

Drake searched the United States to find the best company to develop the mixed-use project. Hubbell Realty Company secured the bid, besting 25 firms from around the country, including national developers specializing in privatized student housing.

“We’re proud to be associated with a project that will strengthen the Drake community,” said Hubbell Realty Company President and CEO Rick Tollakson. “We jumped at the chance to partner with the University to make the west side of campus into something even more vibrant and inviting. Above all, we believe this is the type of housing that students will be able to call home.”

Drake West Village, designed by FEH Architects Inc. with input from Drake students, will contain two five-story buildings and one four-story building between 30th and 31st streets, adjacent to Carpenter Avenue – the main east-west pedestrian corridor between 34th Street -- home of Drake’s Greek houses, other off-campus housing and Drake’s main campus. This pedestrian path will be enhanced with streetscape improvements to create an energetic and safe pedestrian mall at the edge of the village.

The two five-story buildings on the north side of the complex will have a semi-private courtyard that will provide a natural park-like environment where residents can gather for social and recreational activities. There will be a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom units, where each student has a private bedroom and shares a common living and kitchen space. In  addition, there will be 25 studio apartments. Each unit will be furnished with bedroom and living room furniture and all appliances. The project also will include group study rooms as well as two full-equipped exercise rooms and laundry rooms with controlled access. 

The Weitz Company Inc. is the general contractor for the project and Drake University owns the land. Construction is scheduled to be completed in fall 2008 with students moving in for the opening of the 2008-09 academic year. Hubbell Realty Company will remain involved after construction is completed by managing the retail operations on the ground level. Ambling Management will handle the residence hall management.