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The Real Estate Sinkhole
Why must the College overpay so grossly when it builds anything? That’s not a hard question to answer for most people in the construction companies in the Upper Valley. They know that the staffers at the College who supervise this enormous area of Dartmouth’s budget just don’t sweat the details, and the damage runs into the millions or even tens of millions of dollars. A numerically inclined correspondent writes in:
I know how you love the cost of construction at the College. Just saw this article in the “D”:
Kappa Delta—23 beds, 79 car parking lot, 13,275 sq. feet of housing for $3,950,000. $297 per sq ft including parking lot (and I’m sorry, but parking lots are not expensive).
Triangle House for LGBT community—25 beds + 2bdr advisor apt., 14,590 sq. feet for $3,000,000. $205 per sq. foot.
I’m all for solid, durable, high quality construction. But, over $200 per sq. foot for a 23-bed sorority house and the same for an “affinity” house?
In most parts of the USA, $200 per sq. ft. buys you a luxurious new home—much higher in NYC/L.A. etc.—but Hanover, N.H.? I’m assuming the College already owns the land.
By “luxurious new home” my correspondent means a custom kitchen, wonderful woodwork, high ceilings, large windows, and various elegant fits and finishes that add immensely to the cost of a dwelling. For the College to pay this kind of money for institutional buildings is crazy. Sure the two structures above are dormitories, and therefore they must have sprinklers and other safety features, etc., but even so, these costs make no sense to someone with experience in the real estate market.
A further contrast is the Six South Street Hotel in downtown Hanover. Built two years ago for $5.8 million, the commercial structure has 69 rooms, a restaurant, a geothermal heating system, and 33 underground parking spaces. You will have already done the math: yes, this hotel cost less than the two Dartmouth houses above, which total $6,950,000 — and they don’t come with underground parking and are a far sight less luxurious than the new hotel.
What utter incompetence.
Addendum: Word on the street in Hanover is that in the end the renovation of the Inn ran over $50 million. That’s more than half what the College takes in as undergraduate tuition every year. All that for that?
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…