Indiana State University Newsroom

Downtown student housing, retail project announced

April 30, 2013

Indiana State University is moving forward with plans to expand student housing options while also creating new retail space in downtown Terre Haute.

An agreement with Thompson Thrift Development provides for construction of a multi-story building at 500 Wabash Ave. that will provide three floors of student housing with retail space on the ground floor, university President Dan Bradley announced Tuesday. Thompson Thrift will build the complex and retain ownership of it.

"Indiana State is proud to be a part of the downtown Terre Haute community and recognizes that a vital downtown is critical to a vital university and vice versa," Bradley said. "This project will advance our strategic goal of serving as a catalyst for downtown redevelopment, and I am excited about the impact and opportunities it will bring."

The agreement with Thompson Thrift also honors the history of the site, said Diann McKee, vice president for business affairs and finance.

"The historic facade of five existing buildings that will be incorporated into the new housing and retail development will be preserved," she said.

The development reflects the university's ongoing commitment to provide students with more choices and privacy in housing as well as more student-oriented commercial and retail offerings adjacent to the campus, McKee said.

"This dynamic project demonstrates the commitment to downtown revitalization that Indiana State and Thompson Thrift share," said Paul Thrift, president of the development firm. "It will serve as a catalyst for energizing and transforming Terre Haute's downtown by providing 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week foot traffic and Class A retail space that will attract and meet the demands for national and local retailers. In addition, the project will add an aesthetically pleasing multi-story structure to downtown."

McKee will present a 30-year lease agreement to Indiana State's board of trustees on Friday that will give the university control over the student housing portion of the building, which will include an estimated 228 beds. Thompson Thrift will lease the ground-floor retail space, she said.In addition to approval by university trustees, the agreement is also subject to the approval of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the State Budget Committee.

Tuesday's announcement culminates years of study and follows through on key elements of the university's 2009 master plan calling for more market-friendly student housing and support for continued downtown development with the intent of realizing a "vital college town atmosphere."

In March 2011, university officials issued a request for qualifications that resulted in 36 developers expressing interest in such a project. Trustees later authorized a pre-development and planning-agreement with Thompson Thrift.

The lease-agreement calls for the university to pay Thompson Thrift $385 per month per bed, with annual adjustments based on the increase in on-campus room and board or 1.25 percent, whichever is greater. The university will be responsible for all maintenance and operating costs of the residential portion of the facility, including any real estate taxes.

The downtown student housing project will feature four-bed suites with a common living and kitchen area. Student rates for off-campus housing will be based on annual lease payments and cost of operations and maintenance for the facility. Tenants will pay any assessments required by a condominium declaration, including regular, parking, or special assessments.

The Wabash Ave. housing/retail development is projected for completion in fall 2015. The university's lease payments will be paid by University Housing Operations from Housing and Dining System Revenue.

Photo: - The facade of these historic buildings in the 500 block of Wabash Ave. will be preserved as part of a student housing project for Indiana State University that will also provide new retail space in downtown Terre Haute. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3743 or