TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) -
"This is a new way to finance residence hall, dormitories but in an off campus location," says Dr. Robert Shelton, University of Arizona President.
Flanked by Tucson city leaders and developers, Dr. Shelton announced the approval of two downtown projects which will house hundreds of students.
The U of A has a student body of 40,000 but is limited to 8,000 rooms. It's also facing more budget cuts from the state legislature.
"From my perspective it's to insure that if we offer academic programs down there, that it's a location that makes sense," he says.
Now because the modern streetcar project that's coming to downtown Tucson, it makes sense.
The two developments will provide housing for 1,200 students along the streetcar line by 2013.
It will be a public-private partnership.
The two developers are Peach Properties and Capstone Development Corp.
"What we get from the U of A is they actually steer people to us, so that's our win," says Jim Campbell, President and CEO of Capstone.
The taxpayers get more than a $100 million in student housing at private expense.
"This development would not be possible without the streetcar, it's critical," says Campbell.
The expansion for the landlocked U of A is also made possible by the streetcar which links the university to downtown.
"The streetcar is a big part of that," Shelton says.
The $180 million dollar project is funded by the RTA and federal dollars.
"The Modern Streetcar serves almost as a campus extension into the downtown area, with students, faculty members and visitors being able to move back and forth within minutes, and without the need for a car and all of the challenges it presents," Shelton says.."