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New Level of Quality in Student Housing at UML

ribbon cutting for River Hawk Village Photo by Meghan Moore
UMass Lowell officially opened the new River Hawk Village residential complex Tuesday with a ceremony including city and university officials.

Lowell Sun
By Rick Sobey

LOWELL -- "So what are we doing Thursday night?" Lowell Rep. Tom Golden asks, plopping down on the common room couch, while looking up at the stunning flat-screen that will likely have Tom Brady's barking face across it later this week.

The UMass Lowell alum was reflecting back to almost 30 years ago when he walked around campus.

Full kitchens and in-unit laundry back then? A pipe dream at the time.

But today, that's the reality at the new River Hawk Village residential complex on East Campus.

"This is an absolute home run," Golden says while touring a unit. "I honestly want to come back."

On Tuesday, UMass Lowell held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new complex, which is home to 780 upperclassmen this fall and has been touted as the university's most popular choice for housing.

The loft-style, high-end housing at 39 Perkins St. is UMass Lowell's 14th new property, advancing the university toward its goal of having 50 percent of students living on campus by 2020.

"This certainly is a very exciting time as Larry (Siegel, associate vice chancellor) said," UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said at the ceremony. "For some of us, there were times when you walked through this campus, and it was hard to imagine what this place would look like.

"This facility is absolutely state-of-the-art, beautiful," she added. "Larry and I were having an argument over who was going to get what condo in here."

Last year, UMass Lowell purchased Perkins Park residential development for $61 million.

The city of Lowell saw $321,000 in annual property taxes eliminated from its tax rolls for fiscal year 2017. As a result, city officials blasted UMass Lowell, saying they were blindsided by the university taking yet another property off the tax rolls.

UMass Lowell later decided to pay the Perkins Place tax bill for one year, and relations have since improved between university and city officials. They recently signed a "historic" master agreement, laying out the university's commitments to the city.

Overall, the university will make close to $8 million in voluntary payments to the city over the next 20 years.
Mayor Edward Kennedy on Tuesday said the relationship between the city and UMass Lowell is strong, and it's "only strengthened when our on-campus residents become immersed in the central city."

"I'm especially pleased that you (students) have chosen to live at this location because it's just a few blocks away from Lowell's central business district, where you can find a wide variety of shops, restaurants and cultural amenities," Kennedy said at the ceremony.

The River Hawk Village housing options range from four-person Traditional units ($9,755 per academic year) to Townhouse Deluxe units with multilevel floors ($11,851 per academic year).

A residential meal plan, ranging from $4,242 to $4,832 per academic year, is required for Traditional units. A meal plan is optional for Standard, Deluxe and Townhouse Deluxe units. The units come with a full kitchen -- stovetop, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and sink.

There is lounge and group study space on each floor, along with WiFi throughout the building. In addition, the complex has a main-floor lounge with pool tables and ping-pong tables; views of the canal, Merrimack River and LeLacheur Park; and onsite professional staff offices in the main lobby.

River Hawk Village is home to many athletes and also the university's REC-IT Fitness & Wellness Living-Learning Community (LLC), Hall of Justice LLC and Greek Life LLC.