College Park project’s first residents moved into their newly built house on Manning Street in October.
Hillsdale College’s Board of Trustees chairman William Brodbeck ’66 and his wife moved on Oct. 27 into their new house after starting construction on it last winter. Theirs is the first residence developed for Hillsdale’s College Park, which seeks to create housing for those who wish to live near the college and beautify surrounding streets.
“We, on the board, went into this project believing it to be something good for the college and people here,” Brodbeck said.
The project, headed by the Board of Trustees, aims to develop housing on Manning Street and townhouses on West Street to create beautiful, natural-looking neighborhoods that coordinate nicely with campus, Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé said. The project is in its first stages to test the demand and success of each development.
“We’re seeing how it plays out,” Péwé said. “We have to build beds that will be filled.”
The Brodbecks have no neighbors from the initiative yet, but Péwé said the board’s hope is that as outside interest grows, the plots surrounding his new home won’t stay empty for long.
The project plans for houses built on Manning to be sold to friends of the college and dignitaries who would like a more permanent place in close proximity to campus.
The college-owned house known as the Boardwalk is being torn down for this purpose, after the women living there this semester return to the newly renovated Mauck Residence when students return to campus in January.
Townhouses on West Street will be sold to individuals for more flexible purposes. Students or interested individuals may be able to rent living spaces from the owners of each townhouse. As another possibility, owners may use the townhouses as seasonal retreats where they can visit the college for part of the year and rent to visitors for the remaining time.
“If it goes well, then potentially you have more individual interest,” Péwé said. “Maybe for a place to stay on campus or to rent out to for friends, maybe to live in the first floor and rent out the upper levels.”
Brodbeck said the projects becomes more “attractive, impressive, and uplifting,” with the addition of each home and townhouse.
“The whole point of this place is the proximity to the college,” Brodbeck said. “Being able to audit classes, coming to speeches, CCAs, sports, music, the theater.”
Further plans for Manning include the addition of street lights identical to those on campus. This will make campus stretch down the street, Brodbeck said.
The hope is that by investing in Manning and West, the college will spur other investments in the community, Péwé said.
“It will create an economic bridge between the college and downtown,” Péwé said. “You want to create a pathway going from the college to downtown that feels safe. It will encourage people to fix up homes, invest, and buy property.”
In the meantime, Brodbeck and his wife, Janet Brodbeck, said they enjoy the many opportunities to audit classes and attend music events held in Howard Music Hall.
“We feel very fortunate to be here and we absolutely love the community at Hillsdale,” Janet Brodbeck said. “We could be out every night.”
The Brodbecks said they are happy with their new house and its proximity to campus.
“We look forward to others joining us on this street,” William Brodbeck said.