Familiar High-Rise Dorm at Duquesne to Change Hands, Upgrade to Suites

Transposed from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Bill Schackner

The agreement announced Friday between Duquesne and Radnor Property Group and Harrison Street involves St. Martin Hall, a familiar landmark on the Uptown campus. Its 13 stories have housed up to 536 residents, historically freshmen.

In recent years, campuses both public and private have spent tens of millions of dollars to build new dorms, or upgrade existing ones, to better compete for students by offering amenities including suite-style accommodations.

At Duquesne, financial details of the agreement transferring ownership and operation of St. Martin after this semester were not disclosed.

Duquesne University is transferring ownership of a high-rise residence hall built nearly six decades ago to a pair of firms in a move to allow renovation into modern, suite-style housing, campus officials said.

The university said it represented expansion of an existing partnership with both firms. In 2018, a similar agreement involving Brottier Hall put ownership of that high-rise residence jointly with Radnor and Harrison Street.

The plans for St. Martin include suite-style units with shared integral bathrooms, kitchenettes, and a mix of single- and double-occupancy bedrooms, according to a university announcement. Duquesne said existing common area restrooms and lounge spaces will be converted into lounges, and there will be five quiet study floors, three gathering floors and five community kitchen floors.

Radnor is a Wayne, Pa., real estate development firm with experience in nonprofits and student housing, officials said. Harrison Street is an investment management firm headquartered in Chicago.

“Our work together on the Brottier Hall project gave us great confidence in their excellent work and made us eager to partner again,” said Duquesne President Ken Gormley. “Student feedback has been extremely positive.”

Officials said the newly renovated hall will hold fewer students, up to 323, and they will be primarily upper-year and graduate students. Freshmen starting this fall will reside in Assumption Hall, St. Ann Hall, and Duquesne Towers.

Duquesne’s Office of Residence Life will continue to provide resident services, programming and student oversight within the building, in addition to managing room selection and assignment, the university said. Building operations including maintenance and custodial duties will be coordinated by Capstone On-Campus Management.

Bill Schackner: [email protected], 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @Bschackner.
Read the original Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article