Howard University to transform dorm into luxury apartments

As many institutions of higher education seek to carve new avenues to create revenue, Howard University has stumbled across something old to inject new money into the university.

Jair Lynch Real Estate has entered into a deal with Howard University to develop Meridian Hill dormitory into luxury rentals available to the general public.

The move will ease some of the financial pain the school has felt over the years. An idea first pitched by Howard President Wayne Frederick a couple of years ago, the school finally pulled the trigger on the deal this month.

According to, Howard will still own the property and required Jair Lynch to pay an up front fee of $22 million for the rights to redevelop the property.

Over the past few years, Howard’s financial health has come into question as the school’s credit has been downgraded twice and the school’s staff has been reorganized or cut.

To contend with those issues, Frederick identified the school’s real estate as a way to drive new income. Valued at over $1.5 billion, Howard has a lot to review in terms of what it may sell or lease.

But Frederick and school officials aren’t ready to sell off everything. Taking their time to evaluate what’s in the school’s best interest, they don’t seem to be in a rush.

Yet every move hasn’t been met with open arms. The school has decided to enter into an FCC auction for its airwaves that may bring in upwards of $461 million. That would mean that Howard would rid itself of WHUT-TV; a sale that is surely to upset alumni and students.

The decision to enter into the auction isn’t final as the school has until March to decide if it still wants to participate. Howard may decide to opt-out as there is no guarantee that it will receive a value of $461 million for its airwaves.

I applaud Howard’s decision to tap the resources it already has to stabilize revenue and it will be fascinating to see what sort of interest is sparked for the luxury apartments.

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