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YSU Apartment project halted for financing

By Bob Roth

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

The financing piece of the project 'is back under evaluation,' YSU's chief financial officer said.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Construction of a 400-student apartment complex at Youngstown State University has been delayed.
Work on the $18 million project on Wick Oval was to begin in September but didn't because of financing, university officials said.
That could push completion past the start of fall semester next August, the original target date for the apartments.
"Obviously we're getting pretty pressed for time," said John Hyden, YSU facilities director.
"The timing is so close that every day we lose is absolutely critical," said Terry Ondreyka, YSU vice president for financial affairs.
If the apartments aren't finished by August, YSU may have to make arrangements for temporary housing, Ondreyka said.
Plan in the works: Elizabeth Horner, marketing director for Ambling Companies Inc. of Valdosta, Ga., said she isn't sure when construction will commence or if the apartments will be open in time for fall semester. Ambling is developing the apartments.
"We are working very closely with the university right now to iron out all of the specific details," she said.
YSU hopes the student housing complex will attract more students to campus and planned to use the project in recruitment efforts. The university's dormitories have been over capacity for three years.
There are two primary reasons for the construction delay, Ondreyka said.
UYSU is still waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to grant nonprofit status to the University Housing Corp., an organization that will oversee the project.
"We don't anticipate any difficulty in that regard," Ondreyka said, although he said approval could take two more weeks.
University Housing Corp., made up of local business people and university officials, will lease land on Wick Oval from YSU. The nonprofit group in turn will contract with Ambling to build and manage the apartments.
The arrangement, which is growing in popularity at universities across Ohio and the nation, allows the developer to assume the risk for the project and YSU to develop the land without adding to its own debt.
UYSU and Ambling recently decided to change the underwriter for the bonds that will be issued to finance the project, Ondreyka said.
"The financing piece of the project is back under evaluation," he said.
Ambling and the university have received proposals from several banks and other financial institutions and hope to select a new underwriter by next week.