Franklin Pierce University Explores Campus Village Initiative

RINDGE, NH - Franklin Pierce University announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Leewood Real Estate Group to explore the feasibility of creating a Campus Village Initiative to potentially include retail shops, new student housing and an active adult community.

The agreement signed today permits the University, Leewood and the Town of Rindge to move ahead in collaborating to ascertain the development potential and marketability of the projects. Leewood would be the exclusive developer, if one or more of the proposed projects were determined by the University and Town of Rindge to be feasible.

Both Franklin Pierce and Leewood said they are looking forward to working with Town's government, community leaders and residents to create a plan that maintains the rich character and traditions of the town, while serving everyone's needs.

Project will incorporate voice of town residents

"Franklin Pierce and Leewood both have made a commitment to involve the Town and its residents and keep everyone informed as plans move forward," said Rindge Town Administrator Carlotta Pini. "They already have demonstrated the sincerity of that commitment by reaching out to me and others in the community. This is an exciting opportunity with huge potential for our town and I am eager to see the process move forward."

Founded in 1967, Staten Island, New York-based Leewood Real Estate Group provides design, construction, marketing, land development, operational management and general contracting services. Leewood, over the past 40 years, has completed many community organization-based projects, with more planned for coming years.

"Among those developers who expressed interest in the project, Leewood demonstrated genuine out-of-the-box thinking and ideas," said Franklin Pierce University President Dr. George J. Hagerty. "The company's track record of forming a consensus with communities and government leaders to move projects forward is impressive, as is its four decades of success."

"Leewood Real Estate Group is extremely excited about working with Franklin Pierce University and the community of Rindge on these projects," said R. Randy Lee, founder and CEO of Leewood Real Estate Group. "We have a proven track record of long term relationships with many fine institutions. We want to work to meet a need in a way everyone will be proud of."

Three components include retail center, active adult community, student housing

The exploratory phase of the Campus Village Initiative has three components.

One involves considering possibilities for creating a village center on campus property adjacent to Route 119, with the potential of retail, medical and office uses that the entire Town could utilize. An inn and conference center will also be considered. This Village Center concept could have wide-ranging benefits for the entire area. The vision for the village center will be a collaborative one with all of the stakeholders involved.

A second aspect of the project focuses on determining the feasibility of developing an active adult community on campus. Residents could have a unique opportunity to utilize a variety of the University's amenities, including athletic facilities, a dance studio, theatre, art facilities and a lakeside beach. They would also be afforded the chance to audit classes, making the development a true "live and learn" community.

The third facet involves considering opportunities for new on-campus student housing to replace existing housing with more spacious and modern accommodations and to provide some additional capacity.

"These projects, if done right, can have enormous benefits for the Town and its residents as well as the University and its students," said President Hagerty. "If they cannot be done right, they won't be done at all. The character of Rindge is of paramount importance to us and we will work to preserve it while ensuring that residents and Town officials are involved throughout the process."

The initial planning process is expected to take several months with an emphasis on gathering community input. A forum with students, faculty and staff will take place in January along with sessions involving Town residents. A June 2008 timeframe is anticipated for presenting a more detailed formal proposal. The final objective is to develop projects that serve the needs of every stakeholder in the Rindge community.