Industry Focus: Public-private partnership bringing College of Business to reality

The College of Business building going up at UNR’s Mathewson Gateway District is a five-story, 128,000 square-foot building.

The College of Business building going up at UNR’s Mathewson Gateway District is a five-story, 128,000 square-foot building. Courtesy Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate

Steel has topped out on the new front door to University of Nevada, Reno.

The College of Business building going up at UNR’s Mathewson Gateway District celebrated in late April its topping out ceremony, with the last piece of structural steel flown into place by crane. The five-story, 128,000-square-foot building is literally the only significant vertical construction taking place in Northern Nevada outside of the typical big box industrial warehouses being built in various parts of town.

The new College of Business not only anchors the Gateway District as the new front entryway to the college from Virginia Street, but it also serves as a visual anchor for tens of thousands of travelers passing by on Interstate 80 each day.

“The location is critical,” said Greg Mosier, dean of the College of Business. “I like the business building being in the Gateway District because schools of business are a way a lot of people in the community can have their first engagement with the university environment.

“We want students to have successful careers, and we want to engage with companies and employers in town. This building provides a physical gateway to the university, as well as a gateway to the breadth and depth of university programs across the campus.”

Greg Mosier

The College of Business building was necessary to serve the growing prominence of UNR’s business education programs, which long ago outgrew space in the dated Ansari Business Building on campus, Mosier noted. At 3,500 students, the College of Business has the largest enrollment of any program at the university.

Construction crews will soon begin work on the building’s exterior facade, which will mirror the look of other new buildings throughout the university campus, Mosier noted.

“Having the steelwork done shows you the scope and scale of the project because you can see the outline of what the building will look like,” he said. “When Clark Construction starts the brickwork on the outside facades, that’s when you start to see the life of the building coming together and its place relative to the architecture across the rest of the campus.

“It’s going to be a significant marker for the whole community, and it’s right there in the middle of town,” he added.

Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate of Bethesda, Maryland, is building the new College of Business in a public-private partnership with the university. Edgemoor is footing the $150 million bill for construction of the College of Business and for a 150-room hotel that’s expected to break ground in spring or summer of 2025, said Geoff Stricker, Edgemoor’s senior managing director. The university will pay Edgemoor $9.75 million annually for 30 years for the College of Business facility, whereupon ownership will revert to the university. Edgemoor, meanwhile, will pay UNR a ground lease for the hotel facility, Stricker said.

LMN Architects of Seattle is the lead architect on both the exterior and interior of the College of Business building. Stricker told NNBW that the noted Pacific Northwest architectural firm has extensive experience building colleges of business for universities across the country.

“One of the things that is important to us as a developer is identifying partners who have expertise in this specific type of project,” Stricker said. “LMN has a strong history in doing colleges of business, and they really understand the types of classrooms and spaces needed for the students who are studying business education. They are a critical member of our team to ensure they are providing a best-in-class facility for 21st century business education.”

Stricker said that one of the main reasons Edgemoor took on the project, which was won through a competitive bidding process, was for the opportunity to create a showcase facility in the heart of downtown Reno.

Geoff Stricker

“It is an exciting project for the university to continue their growth trajectory in business education with a world-class facility for their students,” Stricker said. “For us, it was an opportunity to impact the community through the design and construction of the building. We are attracted to projects that can have a long-term impact for our client and the community, this development in the Gateway District will impact the university for generations.”

Architecturally, he noted, the design of the College of Business and the hotel will work together, though they won’t be carbon copies of each other. Edgemoor has a flag in mind for the five-story hotel, but it has not yet been finalized.

“It will be one of the major hotel brands,” Stricker said. “There was an opportunity to put a non-gaming hotel at this location to capture university-driven demand from sporting events, graduations and homecoming, or from visiting faculty coming in for conferences. We felt a hotel at that location and with its fantastic westerly views would be successful.”

Edgemoor is pursuing LEED Gold certification on the College of Business. Gold is one step below the highest level of LEED certification. Energy efficiency realized through mechanical and electrical systems and lower water usage are projected to lead to 37 percent lower energy usage annually, saving the university nearly $50,000 each year in operating costs.

“Spending more on design drives more operational efficiency for the university over the long term,” Stricker said. “There are a variety of design decisions we made early on for those systems that ultimately will have long-term benefits for the university.”

The next milestone for the College of Business will occur this fall when the facades and roof are complete and the building is watertight, Stricker noted. The facility is expected to be completed in summer of 2025.


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