Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State opens downtown student housing

August 4, 2015

The opening of Indiana State University's newest student housing facility brings the university literally into the heart of downtown Terre Haute.

The building at 500 Wabash Avenue is a partnership between the university, Thompson Thrift Development and TIAA-CREF, which financed the $22.7 million project. It features 75 apartments of one through four bedrooms in the upper four floors of the five-story building and will house about 260 juniors, seniors and graduate students in lodging that offers more space and amenities than traditional residence halls - including fully-equipped kitchens. Many of the rooms offer scenic views of downtown. The first floor is devoted to retail and office space. The university is leasing the student housing portion of the property from Thompson Thrift and in turn renting the apartments to students.

"We knew that many of our students, especially upperclassmen and graduate students, wanted more upscale housing, and they proved it by fully leasing this facility in less than 48 hours," university President Dan Bradley said Tuesday during a ribbon cutting and open house. "Beyond providing needed housing for our growing student population, this project will also be a catalyst for further development in an already resurgent downtown."

Paul Thrift, president of Thompson Thrift Development, joined Bradley in ceremonially opening the new student housing facility.

"We have been fortunate in this endeavor to have a partner such as ISU with its willingness to assume a leadership role in providing another major building block in the renaissance of downtown Terre Haute," Thrift said. "We are enthused with the positive impact this project will have on the students of ISU and the community as a whole."

Student housing occupies about 103,000 square feet of the total 125,000 square feet. Apartments come furnished and all utilities, including cable television and wireless Internet, are included in students' rent. Students living in the facility will be able to park in campus lots with a valid permit or in the SkyGarden parking facility for the same price as the Cherry Street parking garage.

There are two lounge areas and a laundry area on each floor. There is also one suite on each floor that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suites are specially designed with special bathrooms, lower countertops, a countertop microwave and a removable cabinet front below the sink so a person in a wheelchair can have better access to the sink.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming 260 returning Indiana State University students to this beautiful new building in just a few short days," said Amanda Knerr, executive director of residential life at Indiana State. We believe that this new residential community will bring energy and excitement downtown and help to foster community engagement and involvement with our students while still allowing them to have all the resources that an on-campus housing experience provides. Today's dedication truly celebrates what can be accomplished when the university and community partner together and we are excited to showcase the beautiful result of this collaboration with Thompson Thrift."

To maintain the character of downtown Terre Haute, the building was designed to look like multiple buildings with a mix of brick, terra cotta and metal facades.

TIAA-CREF, a national financial services organization and the leading provider of retirement servics in the academic field and administrator of Indiana State's plan since 1937, financed the construction of the property via a credit tenant loan. Such a loan enables developers to finance projects for the private and public sector based on the creditworthiness of the tenant. As the property developer and owner, Thompson Thrift borrowed money from TIAA-CREF to finance the construction of the building and will use the future rent paid by the university to retire the loan.

"Accessing long-term financing from a mission-driven partner such as TIAA-CREF allows community institutions such as universities and hospitals to improve and expand facilities and create short- and long-term jobs via construction and building maintenance," said David Persky, managing director, Global Private Markets at TIAA-CREF.

The 500 Wabash Avenue building is the latest in a series of ongoing student housing expansions and upgrades for Indiana State. Mills Hall will reopen this month following an extensive renovation and is the first of four buildings in the 1960s era Sycamore Towers complex to be upgraded. Renovation began earlier this year on Burford Hall and is scheduled for completion in August 2016.

The university's 2009 Master Plan called for more upgrades to student housing and a greater role in Terre Haute's economic development. President Bradley announced plans for a downtown housing-retail project during his 2013 fall address, and on Tuesday, he thanked state lawmakers and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for approving the university's plan to finance the project.

The credit tenant loan investment was made on behalf of TIAA-CREF's general account. The general account is an insurance company account and does not present an investment return, and is not available to investors. C25417

Photo: - Representatives from Indiana State University, Thompson Thrift Development and the city of Terre Haute cut a blue ribbon ceremonially opening the residential portion of a new student housing/retail development Aug. 4. 2015. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Photo: - A lounge area in Indiana State University's newest student housing facility at 500 Wabash Ave. in downtown Terre Haute. (ISU/Angelique Bokamba)

Photo: - The kitchen of an apartment in Indiana State University's new student housing facility in downtown Terre Haute. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

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