Why does Villanova University want to undertake this project?
Villanova would like to transform its main parking lots on Lancaster Avenue/Route 30 into residence halls, a state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center, a University-operated retail space and a parking garage. The University plans to move students and their vehicles from the neighborhoods onto campus. This project would provide housing for 85% of Villanova’s undergraduate student body, which would help to make Villanova more competitive as an institution, increase student and parent satisfaction, improve relations with the surrounding community and greatly improve the attractiveness of the visual landscape on Lancaster Avenue.
How will the project impact the community and the neighbors?
The project will reduce student presence in residential neighborhoods, while improving traffic flow and stormwater management. In addition, it is anticipated that the Township housing stock would increase as students are moved out of the neighborhoods and onto campus. The University envisions that this project will create an aesthetically pleasing gateway along Lancaster Avenue.
How much will the project cost and how will Villanova pay for it?
While the project is still in the early stages of planning, initial estimates are in the range of $200+ million. Funds will come from a combination of University equity, tax exempt debt and contributions.
What financial impact will this project have on Radnor Township?
It is anticipated that the project will generate $4 million to $5 million of permit fees and gross receipt taxes for the Township over a three-year construction period.
How did Villanova select the architects?
Villanova felt strongly that this project warranted distinguished architects with regional expertise and experience in higher education, particularly the collegiate gothic style that is prominently featured on campus. Villanova opted for a joint-partnership between two premier firms: New York-based Robert A. M. Stern Architects, LLP and Philadelphia-based Voith & Mactavish Architects, LLP.
Will the construction of the parking garage result in an increase to the current number of parking spots in the main parking lots?
The main parking lots currently accommodate nearly 1,700 vehicles. The parking garage has been planned for approximately 1,800 vehicles. Combined with the surface parking spots behind the planned residence halls, this project would result in approximately 2,100 total parking spots, which would meet Township requirements.
How will the Performing Arts Center be used?
The Performing Arts Center will be used to support Villanova Theatre, Villanova Student Theatre and other campus academic and student programs. It will not be used as a venue for outside groups, traveling productions, concerts, etc.
Will the retail component of the project provide competition to local businesses?
The retail component of the project will be student-focused and consist of a relocated University Bookstore as well as a convenience store and Villanova Bistro. Each retail location will be University owned and operated, and intended as a destination for Students, Faculty, Staff, and visitors to campus.
How will this project affect traffic flow?
Because the project is designed to bring students who currently live in nearby neighborhoods onto campus – along with their vehicles – traffic to and from campus will be reduced. It is anticipated that area neighborhoods will have fewer cars and less congestion since a significant number of students will no longer be commuting from off-campus.
With increased housing being a focal point of the project, does it signal a desire for Villanova to expand its undergraduate student enrollment?
No. Villanova seeks to undertake this project to a) help address demand among current and prospective students for on-campus housing, and b) enhance its living/learning environment. This project will not lead to an increase in undergraduate student enrollment, just as similar student housing projects in the past (South Campus and West Campus) did not lead to enrollment increases.
Right now the land is blacktop and being used for parking. How will changing the surface impact the environment?
Through this initiative, Villanova would improve how the land is currently used from an environmental perspective. The University plans to exceed what the Township would require for storm water management in a typical project of this size and scope. Villanova would reduce the amount of surface impenetrable by water and install storm water management systems that would improve the way run-off is managed.
As a frequent host/participant of athletic and academic events, does Villanova plan to change the frequency and/or size of events it can host?
Villanova does not plan to change the size, number or frequency of the events it hosts. However, the University understands that peak events impact both traffic patterns and the number of cars on campus. Villanova University is continuing to focus on identifying ways to better manage the flow of traffic and the additional cars on or near campus during such events.
How will neighbors and the community be engaged throughout the planning process?
Villanova is committed to involving neighbors and the entire community during this process by:
- Conducting meetings throughout the process to discuss the project and solicit feedback
- Maintaining this website with up-to-date information
- Encouraging questions and input from the community
- Working closely with the Township through its approval process, which includes opportunities for community engagement