News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 11, 2013

ISU must wait for downtown housing OK

State Budget Committee postpones vote a month, wants more information on project’s financing

INDIANAPOLIS — The State Budget Committee postponed a vote Wednesday on a request by Indiana State University to enter a long-term lease with a private developer for a downtown student housing project.

Despite concerns expressed by ISU officials that the delay would threaten the project, committee members said the vote should wait at least another month until they get more detailed information on the project’s financing.

“If it’s really a good deal, it will still remain a good deal,” said state Sen. Luke Kenley, a Republican from Noblesville who chairs the committee.

ISU officials were hoping to get the needed approval from the committee to enter into what will be a $33 million lease agreement over 30 years with a private developer, Thompson Thrift, that wants to build a four-story retail/residential building in downtown Terre Haute.

The university wants to lease the top three floors of the building to use for student housing for upperclassmen and graduate students. The developer would lease the first floor for retail use.

ISU officials said they planned to pay about $1.05 million a year to lease the top floors of the building, which would have enough four-bedroom apartments to house 228 students.  

Diann McKee, ISU’s vice president for business affairs, said the project makes sense for the university because it doesn’t have enough housing on campus for students, but also doesn’t have the expertise in putting together the kind of property deal that the downtown project would require.

She also said the project developer had options with property owners that expire Aug. 1, and expressed concerns about property owners who may back out of the deal if the university couldn’t secure approval by state and local officials to move forward by then.

But several state budget committee members, including Kenley, said the proposed agreement between ISU and the project developer was unusual and that they needed more time and information to review the deal.

“I’m not saying I’m opposed to the project, but we haven’t had enough time to review it,” said state Sen. Karen Tallian, a Democrat from Portage who argued for delaying the vote. “I feel like we’re being put over a barrel here.”

After the meeting, McKee said ISU will be back in front of the State Budget Committee in August to ask for the project’s approval again. “We’ll work with them to get them the information they need,” McKee said.

The ISU project was the only one not approved by the State Budget Committee out of more than $100 million in projects it considered Wednesday.

Later, McKee told the Tribune-Star that the project “has been part of our strategic plan since day one. We have been upfront about that” with state agencies.

The Commission for Higher Education did approve the project at its June meeting.

ISU found it beneficial to work with a developer because of the land acquisition issue. “We wanted a retail/residential mix product, and the university has no expertise in running retail operations,” McKee added.

The ISU bookstore has been operated by a third party for more than 20 years, and the university’s dining operation also is run by a third party, McKee said.

She recognizes that the long-term housing lease with a private developer “is a different kind of project than we normally take to the state.”

Paul Thrift, president of Thompson Thrift Development, could not immediately be reached Wednesday for comment.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI, the Tribune-Star’s parent company. She can be reached at

Staff report Sue Loughlin contributed to this report.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 28th
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010