Help! University needs town center immediately!

Of the accepted applicants to the University of Connecticut each year, about two-thirds decide to go elsewhere. The #1 reason, based on annual surveys? Lack of a college town.

So, the Town of Mansfield CT, the University, and a visionary real estate developer, Leyland Alliance, partnered to establish the Mansfield Downtown Partnership to build… a college town center. And a pretty cool one at that.

Next year, the $165 million Storrs Center will commence, with 200,000 s.f. of retail and restaurant space, 300 rental/500 for-sale housing units, 40,000 to 75,000 sq. ft. of office space and 5000 to 25,000 sq.ft. of civic and community space, surrounding a town square. 34 of the 49-acre project will be preserved for conservation. What’s entirely forward-thinking however, is that most of the retail/restaurant venues will be independents rather than national chains, practically unheard of in new town center developments (but what the downtown market really wants).

Read more about the project in the NY Times, UConn Decides to Build Its Own College Town, or more about university town developments here.