Trends Summer 2014 | Page 6

From remediation to Redevelopment Blighted area of former industry transformed into successful student housing complex By Jennifer Schmidt M ore than 600 students call Carroll University’s Pioneer, Frontier, and Prairie halls home during a typical academic year, with an estimated 860 more bunking in the suite-style residence halls in the summer for sports camps and other activities. The first floors of the complexes contain an array of retail outlets, including a public YMCA in Frontier Hall, further accommodating the students as well as community members. This area of the Waukesha, Wisconsin, campus is bustling with activity year-round, though this wasn’t always the case. The land the university’s newest dormitories now sit on once was 6│TRENDS home to various industries, and since the latest factory closed, had become an empty, run-down eyesore. “The longer buildings are empty and the less attention they’re given, the more opportunity there is for bad things to happen there,” said Ronald Lostetter, Carroll University’s vice president of finance. “We’re not an island, and when we’re next to things like that it has an impact on us.” Properties have history Adjacent to the Canadian National railroad, this 5-acre corridor along North Grand and West College avenues in downtown Waukesha has a long history of industrial use dating back to the 1800s. It was first used for a water bottling plant and then served as a dairy and rubber factory. Other businesses came and went through the years, including a gas station, car dealership, automotive repair facility, dry cleaner, strip mall, teen center, and printing company – all of which ultimately closed. With the structures vacant, soil and groundwater contamination set in, and unwelcomed activities such as vandalism began to take place. A local developer decided to do something about it. “We felt like it would be a good site for some sort of multi-family, mixeduse development, and we started talking to the university about the possibility of student housing on that