How Do You Build a College Town?

That’s the question towns from Columbia, Ohio to Mansfield, Connecticut are pondering as they construct new city plans — and multi-million dollar projects – to build vibrant towns for their Universities. While we’re skeptical huge projects alone can build a great college town, we applaud these cities for their vision. How will College Park measure up?

After the state committed to spend more than $2 billion for improvements to all its campuses, the University of Connecticut decided on a sweeping project at its main campus in this hamlet in the still-rural town of Mansfield. Working with local officials, it plans to demolish the meager downtown, which looks more like a makeshift set for a Hollywood western than a New England college center, and build a town from scratch.

Construction of the development, called Storrs Center, is scheduled to begin next year. The project will include up to 300 market-rate rental housing units, up to 500 residential units for purchase, about 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 40,000 to 75,000 square feet of office space and 5,000 to 25,000 square feet of civic and community space. A town square will be at its core, mimicking the greens at the center of hundreds of New England villages.

New York Times: “UConn Decides to Build Its Own College Town