Eastern Michigan University reaches financial close for $212 million student housing public-private partnership

Gilbane serving as developer and property manager for “Welcome Home 2025” initiative

YPSILANTI, MI –  Eastern Michigan University’s “Welcome Home 2025” on-campus student housing initiative closed on financing today (Nov. 17), with the sale of $212,210,000 in revenue bonds by the Public Finance Authority (the “Authority”), a Wisconsin-based entity authorized to issue tax-exempt, taxable, and tax credit conduit bonds for public and private entities throughout all 50 states.

The Authority will loan the proceeds of the bonds funds to EMU Campus Living, a subsidiary of Community Facility Public Private Partnerships (“CFP3”). As part of the 35-year agreement with the University, EMU Campus Living has engaged Gilbane Development Company (“GDC”) as developer responsible for the design, development, renovation, construction and/or demolition of the Welcome Home 2025 projects.

Gilbane Development Company will also serve as property manager, managing the day-to-day operation, management, maintenance, and repair of the student housing facilities through a unique governance structure building upon the expertise of both the University and Gilbane.

Barclays served as the underwriter for the financing. Rieth Jones Advisors is serving as EMU’s project advisor, with Ponder & Company as the University’s financial advisor and Dickinson Wright as legal counsel.

View a gallery of the latest Welcome Home 2025 plan renderings.
For additional background information about the timeline and extensive campus/student engagement in the design and development process, visit welcomehome2025.com

The “Welcome Home 2025” project broke ground on October 20, 2022 and will be completed using a phased approach from Fall 2022 to Fall 2024. The first phase of the projects, renovations to Downing, Putnam, and Walton Halls, are expected to be completed for the Fall 2023 semester.  The second phase of renovations to Phelps and Sellers Halls are expected to be completed for the Fall 2024 semester, along with the new construction of the 700 new beds in the Lakeview and Westview Apartments. Other student housing will benefit from varying renovation projects in advance of the Fall 2025 semester. Renovations and enhancements will include new air conditioning, new bathrooms, and state-of-the-art technology. 

Shared amenity spaces and upgrades will facilitate social interaction and a sense of community, all while supporting living-learning and overall well-being to ensure success for a diverse student population. Planning efforts for the facility design and operations involved an extensive engagement process over four months that included thousands of conversations and opportunities to engage with faculty, staff, students, and campus organizations and stakeholders.

“This is a transformational project for the University,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith. “We have received tremendous input and support from students in the design and structure of the facilities, which will bring modern apartment-style living and create a warm and welcoming living and learning environment that our students deserve. We appreciate the expertise and support provided by our partners and look forward to having best-in-class student housing when Welcome Home 2025 is completed.”

“Gilbane is honored to have worked alongside Eastern Michigan University’s leadership and students, Rieth Jones Advisors, Barclays, our design-build team, and countless project stakeholders to get to this important financing milestone today,” said Geoff Eisenacher, Gilbane Development Company’s Senior Development Director.  “EMU’s leadership has been clear-eyed about what their students need and has been resolute in ensuring that the Welcome Home 2025 student housing program will benefit the students of EMU today and well into the future.  We know the importance of delivering this project and are steadfast in our commitment to EMU and its students.”

"It has been a privilege for the RJA team to work with Eastern Michigan over the past 4.5 years to reach this significant milestone,” said Richard Rieth, Principal at Rieth Jones Advisors. “This unique development program is the outcome of hundreds of campus engagement sessions held by the University and Gilbane teams to understand and meet student needs, and as a result this initiative is a bold, transformational plan that will result in an exceptional residential experience at EMU for decades to come.”

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences, and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities, and announcements, visit EMU Today.

About Gilbane
Gilbane, Inc., a private holding company marking its 150th year in business, is one of the oldest and largest family-owned construction, investment, and real estate development firms in the world. Gilbane Development Company is the project development, financing, and ownership arm of Gilbane, providing a full slate of real estate development and property management services. Gilbane Building Company is a full-service construction services firm providing preconstruction, general contracting, construction management, and design-build services on some of the nation’s most complex projects. Gilbane’s Public Private Partnership Group has delivered or has underway more than $4 billion in P3 projects for healthcare, higher education, K-12 schools, and federal/state/municipal clients. Visit www.gilbaneco.com for more information. 

About Rieth Jones Advisors
Rieth Jones Advisors (RJA) is an advisory firm that provides project evaluation, development advisory, and implementation services across multiple asset types.  Using a tailored approach customized to each project, the firm specializes in serving higher education institutions and municipalities on their housing, auxiliary, and infrastructure needs.  RJA has advised over 100 institutional partners on more than $7 billion worth of projects, including $1.5+ billion in public-private partnerships (P3) and 225,000+ beds of on-campus student housing.


Media contacts:

Melissa Thrasher
Director of Media Relations
Eastern Michigan University
mthrashe@emich.edu | +1 734 487 4401

Stephanie Handfield
Vice President of Marketing
Gilbane Development Company
shandfield@gilbaneco.com | +1 401 456 5456

Lynn Rasic
Vice President, Global Communications
Gilbane Building Company
lrasic@gilbaneco.com | +1 212 822 0319

Richard Rieth
Rieth Jones Advisors
richard@riethjones.com | +1 614 795 7424

November 17, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher