Eastern Michigan University LAKEVIEW AERIAL

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Student Housing

Partnering with the private sector to develop quality, affordable on-campus housing designed to meet 21st-century standards for Eastern Michigan University’s students

After many years of making difficult choices with limited resources, Eastern Michigan University (“EMU”) boldly supported a combination solution for delivering a high-quality on-campus living experience for its students, upgrading campus utility infrastructure, and generating impactful investment dollars to help pursue key strategic initiatives.

To create affordable, quality housing for its students while providing long-term sustainability of exceptional living and learning experiences as well as seamless integration of facilities services with Housing and Residence Life, EMU launched the Welcome Home EMU Plan. This comprehensive plan includes demolition of 1,500 beds of outdated housing, renovation of 2,463 beds of existing inventory, and construction of 700 new beds that diversify unit type options available to serve students from their first year through graduation.


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EMU turned to a public-private partnership (P3) delivery for its Welcome Home EMU Plan. Gilbane was selected to lead the transformative three-year campus initiative in partnership with EMU. Gilbane’s vertically integrated approach as developer, builder, and operator creates a single point of accountability for EMU. Gilbane Development Company coordinated the financing through a 501(c)3 tax-exempt structure.

The University intensified its strategic focus with a 50-year Infrastructure Partnership, which will drive improvements to its district energy system but more importantly will realize efficiency through the integration and coordination with the Welcome Home EMU housing initiative. Gilbane, as Master Developer, selected and will oversee the 50-year partnership with Eagle Energy Partners, a consortium consisting of CenTrio Energy, Noresco, and Burns & McDonnell, all of which bring deep energy-sector expertise to modernize utility systems and improve sustainability efforts.

As part of the community campus engagement plan, nearly 2,000 students, 150 faculty, and countless staff provided valuable feedback through surveys, focus groups, and student and faculty senate meetings. Throughout this highly consultative process, providing long-term affordability for students remained the primary objective.

The resulting updates include two new student living facilities: Lakeview Apartments – a 400-bed apartment-style residence hall adjacent to the new Student Center – and Westview Apartments, a 300-bed apartment community that will serve as a dynamic gateway between the west campus, which features many of the University’s athletics facilities, and the main campus. Improvements to existing housing include new air conditioning; improved and enhanced WiFi; updated lounges, study spaces, and community kitchens; new common area furniture; refreshed bathrooms, floors, and windows; new energy-efficient LED lighting; and new recording/podcasting room, green screen room, and prayer room. By design, the common spaces and upgrades will facilitate social interaction and a sense of community, all while supporting a vibrant living-learning experience that will promote success for a diverse student population.

New construction began in the fall of 2022 and will conclude by the fall of 2024. All renovations will be completed by the fall of 2024.

Project Overview

  • Creative public-private partnership (P3) developed to align interests and transfer risk from EMU
  • Design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) model
  • Project includes Gilbane’s formation of an on-campus facility and property management platform that interacts with all existing on-campus departments including Finance and Administration, Housing and Residence Life, and Facility/Plant/Maintenance
  • Team: Gilbane Development Company as the developer; Gilbane Building Company, Michigan-based Clark Construction, and AVB, Inc. as design-builders; and Progressive AE and Mackey Mitchell Architects PC are serving as architects of record, with minority-owned Moody Nolan as associate design architect. Progressive is also serving as the engineer for the new construction projects, with IMEG as the engineer of record for renovation projects. Rieth Jones Advisors is providing advisory services to the University.

“Welcome Home 2025 is an ambitious and exciting plan that will transform Eastern Michigan University for decades into the future.”

James Smith
Eastern Michigan University

Quick Stats

  • Client:
    • Eastern Michigan University
  • Location: Ypsilanti, MI
  • Market: Public-Private Partnerships (P3)
  • Size: 1,282,000 SF
  • Beds: 3,163
  • Awards:
    • P3 Awards, Best Education and Higher Education Project
    • Student Housing Business, Innovator Award for Best Public/Private Financing Solution


renovated beds


new beds


meetings as part of campus-wide community engagement plan

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