Campus Infrastructure & Community Development



Helping to structure, negotiate, and close complex public-private infrastructure and transactions that connect campus and community.

Our approach

With over half of U.S. colleges and universities located in cities and urban areas, we see tremendous opportunity. And with strong interconnectivity between campus and community, there is a growing need for partnerships between universities and private developers to develop facilities that will benefit both the university and the community in which it is located. Examples include:

  • Research hospitals, medical facilities, and technology incubators
  • Stadiums
  • Mixed-use and retail structures
  • Performing arts centers
  • Privatized student housing

Developing large-scale public-private projects presents challenges, from tight construction schedules to the need for complex financing. In addition, many campuses are focusing on opportunities to work with private developers to privatize their energy distribution systems while at the same time upgrading/retrofitting them to accommodate more sustainable fuel options.  Other campuses, faced with uncertain enrollment trends and changing-space needs, based on new instructional models, are looking to private developers and investors to assist them in reducing their campus infrastructure footprint while finding new commercial uses for campus structures.

We guide you through each phase of your project’s development, with advice related specifically to higher education institutions, such as the role of governing boards and the applicability of nonprofit regulations at the federal and state level as well as financing and development issues unique to institutional owners.

Who we work with

  • Our clients are primarily colleges and universities aiming to maintain and attract a diverse and growing student population.
  • For financing and real estate development, portfolio, and acquisition due diligence and other business needs, we also represent:
  • National and local developers
  • Investors
  • Lenders
  • Underwriters
  • Credit enhancement providers
  • Bond issuers

Recent experience

University of Rochester’s Orthopedic Surgery Center Retrofit Project

Represented the University of Rochester in connection with an adaptive re-use of a shopping mall to be developed into an orthopedics and physical performance center. The center will consist of exam rooms, operating rooms and space for therapy, sports training, and wellness services. The mixed-use development includes existing retail, restaurant, and entertainment venues.

University of Rochester’s College Town

This exciting development is a successful public-private endeavor in Rochester, New York. College Town is transforming the neighborhood into a gateway to the University of Rochester Medical Center by adding 500,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a conference facility, hotel, parking, and housing. We worked with the University of Rochester in negotiations for the development agreement, various financing documents, and local land use approvals.

Rochester Institute of Technology

We represented the Rochester Institute of Technology in a joint venture with Rochester developer Wilmorite to develop, construct, and operate a mixed-use project on an approximately 60-acre parcel of RIT’s campus. The development consists of residential apartment (approximately 900 beds), retail, restaurant, and office uses.

Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

Nixon Peabody represents a joint venture of five Massachusetts research universities in the creation of a joint venture that has constructed a super-computing center in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center is a groundbreaking collaboration between Harvard University, MIT, University of Massachusetts, Boston University, and Northeastern University; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and private industry.

CUNY Law School Commercial Condo

We represented the City University of New York (CUNY)in connection with the acquisition, development, and financing of a commercial condominium unit for the relocation of its law school in Long Island City, New York, and the development and financing of student housing facilities on multiple campuses throughout New York City.

St. John Fisher College Campus Expansions

We advised St. John Fisher College on extensive campus expansions and in connection with bringing the Buffalo Bills training camp to its campus, which has become a successful annual community event.

CUNY Queens College and College of Staten Island

Represented CUNY in connection with the development and financing of student housing facilities on the campuses of the City College of New York, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island, which are senior colleges within the CUNY system. Representation included advice on structuring transactions and selecting bond issuer; drafting and negotiating conveyance documents, design and construction documents, development and management agreements as well as reviewing and negotiating financing documents and giving tax advice.

Western University

Represented the university in connection with a student housing tax-exempt bond transaction to finance the construction of a new 306-bed student housing facility, immediately adjacent to the university’s Pomona, California, campus. Representation included structuring, negotiating, and drafting two separate leases for the project (for office space and student housing space) between the borrower, as landlord, and the university, as tenant

Northeastern University

Represented Northeastern University on matters involving development, permitting, and zoning issues.

College in Boston

Represented a college located in Boston in connection with its acquisition and disposition of parcels of land and easement rights in an expansion of its campus. Representation included the conveyance of a parcel of land to a state agency in exchange for support for the college’s general expansion efforts.

Recognition

  • Chambers USA has ranked members of our Real Estate team, with clients praising our “attention to detail, deep knowledge, responsiveness, and great value” since 2010.
  • Nixon Peabody LLP has received Tier 1 recognition in real estate law from U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers in its 2013 “Best Law Firms” rankings.
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