Hallie Lauer | news editor
Plans for another Duquesne building to change hands are underway. On Jan. 24, Duquesne announced its plans for St. Martin Hall to become part of the Radnor Property Group LLC and its partnership with Harrison Street investment management firm.
Radnor Property Group is a based in Wayne, Pa., right outside of Philadelphia. According to Tim Gigliotti, a Radnor partner since about 2006, the company’s primary focus has been on public, private partnerships with organizations like colleges and universities, as well as other non-profits.
Radnor has been in a partnership with Duquesne since May 2018, when it acquired Brottier Hall. This new partnership will work the same as the Brottier one, with Radnor owning the building and renting it out to Duquesne students.
“We will maintain that on-campus feel, with residence life presence being a big part of that,” Gigliotti said.
Radnor will become the official owner of St. Martin Hall in May, when the closing is complete. According to Doug Frizzell, the vice president for student life, St. Martin will close for renovations at the end of the spring semester and reopen to students for the Fall 2021 semester.
“We are going to completely refigure the building into a suite-style arrangement,” Gigliotti said. “Our goal is to fill a place in the on-campus housing that doesn’t currently exist. It might have a few more amenities than exist in Vickroy or des Places.”
The building is going to go from holding around 500 students to about 324 students. This downsize will allow for “suites, bathrooms, kitchens and lounge gathering spaces,” Frizzell said.
Two-thirds of the rooms will be single-occupancy and one-third will be double occupancy.
Because of this downsize, the university is allowing sophomores to apply for a one-time housing exemption and temporarily suspend the on-campus living requirement for sophomores during the 2020-2021 year.
“The administration will monitor housing needs throughout the room selection process beginning spring 2020 and will continue monitoring throughout the summer to assure that student housing needs are met,” Frizell said.
Sophomores interested in the housing exemption will have to apply and be approved by the Office of Residence Life. Further information will be given to all sophomores regarding this exemption.
The biggest change coming to St. Martins will be the redesign of the layout of each floor.
Gigliotti explained that as the redesign plans currently stand, the communal bathrooms on each floor are going to be removed and replaced with kitchens, loud study rooms, quiet study rooms or game rooms. Each floor will vary.
“It’s still in design, but we’re looking for a way to personalize each floor,” Gigliotti said.
In total, there will be five floors of quiet study, three floors for standard lounge space and five floors with community kitchens in them.
Renovations will also include a remodeled ground floor entrance and upgrading and replacing the buildings mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems.
According to Matt Frist, the vice president for finance and business, St. Martin Hall was chosen for this partnership and redesign due to its age and condition.
St. Martin’s was built in 1961, making it the second oldest dorm building on campus.
“We could not be happier that our presence in Pittsburgh is now twice established in such a highly visible place,” said David Yeager, managing partner of Radnor Property Group in a statement sent to Duquesne students. “With the Brottier Hall project, we were able to complete a real showpiece for the highly attractive work we can do. St. Martin will be a great project for us to show even more of what we can accomplish with great partners.”
Because Radnor has not closed on the building yet, the price was not released. Once the closing is finished in May, it will be made public.