“Forward thinking” strategy a win-win
In 2014, Oglethorpe University entered into a land-lease agreement with Gables Residential to build Gables Brookhaven, a 374-unit apartment complex at Peachtree Road and Hermance Drive. The first of the two buildings opened in fall 2015, and the second in summer 2016.
While the new construction updated Oglethorpe’s face to Peachtree Road, it is also having a dramatic, positive impact on the historic campus. The proceeds from the land-lease agreement were placed into a special endowment to be used specifically for deferred maintenance on Oglethorpe’s older buildings on campus, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
Oglethorpe retained SiteLines, Inc., a consulting and construction firm, to conduct a complete deferred maintenance inventory and plan. The prioritization of projects financed through the annual endowment spending is approved by the Board of Trustees. Currently, “student-focused” areas on campus, including technical infrastructure affecting academic work, are at the top of the list.In 2015, University Business magazine featured Oglethorpe in an article about higher education strategies for meeting the high costs of deferred maintenance. Calling Oglethorpe “forward thinking,” the magazine highlighted the university’s strategy to find and generate a new revenue stream while also addressing the need for more student housing, without requiring new construction.
“Oglethorpe’s residence halls were near capacity and we were need of additional space to accommodate our continued growth,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall. “Our partnership with Gables Residential allows us to fulfill that need, as the new community offers an alternative living choice for our students, while shifting the financial risk away from the university.”