What is the Master Plan of the overall site?
1997: The Messiah College Board of Trustees purchased the Musser farm located directly across from its West Lisburn entrance. A small portion of this property was subsequently designated as the site of the presidential residence.
2003: The Riders sold their farm to Messiah College, which is adjacent to the Musser tract and also runs parallel to major highway, U.S. Route 15.
2014: Based on marketing studies, financial projections, ongoing discussions with the Upper Allen Township, and legal and business counsel, the Messiah College board of trustees decided the timing and economic climate was appropriate to move forward with the development of these tracts. Therefore, Messiah College voted to initiate and support a legally, functionally separate and independent for-profit corporation to develop this property. Rider Musser Development, LLC will oversee all the day-to-day operations and decision-making related to the properties’ development and will maintain an “arm’s-length” relationship with the College.
Messiah College, upon the advice of legal and financial counselors, determined that this corporate structure would be the most appropriate structure in order to accomplish several important goals, including creating a mechanism to develop real estate (i.e., there are many laws and regulations regarding who and what type of an organization can develop real estate), and sharing the economic benefits of this endeavor by paying taxes to the community and creating jobs for hundreds of families. Messiah College wants the “tide” of this project to “lift as many boats as possible.”
This is an investment opportunity for Messiah College. The success of the investment in Rider Musser Development, LLC will offer return-on-investment yields to Messiah College that will ultimately supplement and support the institution’s future financial health and vitality.
Messiah College sets aside approximately 15% of their endowment funds into an alternative investments fund (i.e., investments that are not directly tied to equities and the stock market). This fund has been underutilized of late, and was determined to be appropriate for this type of use. Messiah College will seed this project with an investment of 5-10% of the total cost of the project during the length of the project.
No. After considering this option, it was decided that the current state of higher education precludes the use of these tracts as a destination for future campus expansion.
Although Rider Musser Development, LLC is a completely separate entity from Messiah College, it has a vested interest in ensuring that the use of this land is developed in a manner that benefits the College and local community. Maintaining green space; designing quality, upscale residential housing; offering convenient business and service options; and incorporating recreational outlets for Grantham residents is of the utmost importance. Selling the land to a non-local developer would mean losing control of what’s erected on the site, therefore, Rider Musser Development, LLC will do what it can to avoid this option.
Late 2017, or early 2018. The first phase will include preparing the entire site infrastructure for the development. This will involve some major renovation to the entrance, which is at the point where the Messiah College presidential residence (Orchard Hill) currently has a driveway to enter and exit. That driveway, directly across from a major entrance to the Messiah College campus, will be the egress/ingress point for Oakwood Hills.
There will be multiple phases, but realistically, 15 to 20 years.
The estimated cost of the project is $50 to $100 million.
We will target individuals who desire upscale, maintenance-free and village-like living.
Messiah College’s internal policy will prevent Oakwood Hills from being considered college-approved housing for any full-time, undergraduate student.