Beds, book and 'bucks: West campus work underway

A one-block section of the West Side of the YSU campus is about to come alive with Barnes & Noble-going, Starbucks-sipping student residents.

On a warm football Saturday afternoon earlier this month, university officials and others grabbed golden shovels and donned Penguin hard hats to break ground on the second phase of the University Edge student apartments and a new campus bookstore and café on the West Side of campus.

“This project allows us to continue to expand recruitment efforts outside the immediate region, to offer high-quality alternative housing on campus and to continue to build a full and thriving college environment and experience for our students,” YSU President Jim Tressel said.

The development is bordered by Fifth, Lincoln, Belmont and Rayen avenues. The 162-bed first phase of the apartments along Rayen opened in August – sold out months ahead of time. The second phase will include 220 beds along Lincoln and will be open August 2017 for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.

“Students love the new apartments and already are clamoring for space in the second building,” said Jack Tzgournis, president of Fortress Real Estate Co., which is partnering with Hallmark Campus Communities on the project.

In addition, on the corner of Fifth and Lincoln, Hallmark is constructing a new Barnes & Noble College-operated campus bookstore, featuring a Starbucks café and a convenience store. The bookstore is expected to open during the 2017-18 academic year, replacing the university’s current bookstore in Kilcawley Center. The future use of that space is undetermined.

The projects are being built by Hallmark on YSU-owned land that, with state approval, has been leased to Hallmark.