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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Officials lay out Cain Hall renovation guidelines

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Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION

The message University officials presented at the pre-proposal meeting for the redevelopment of the 11-acre lot holding Cain Hall was simple — A&M is looking for fresh ideas and is willing to negotiate.
At the Thursday meeting, Phillip Ray, chief business development officer of the Texas A&M University System, said to possible contractors that every aspect of the project is negotiable, but the University would prefer a shorter partnership lease.
“Certainly the more money we have to spend out of our bank, the less we like it,” Ray said. “The longer we don’t have control or we have this ground lease, the less comfortable we become with it. But if you’re going to give us 10 million dollars a year to build all this stuff, then we might do a long-term deal.”
Ray said Cain Hall must be replaced by a building with 15 percent more office space, a hotel that holds 150 to 200 beds and a parking area that holds roughly 1,000 spaces. A bridge must connect the hotel to the Kyle Field site and green space must be incorporated.
Beyond that, Ray said he purposely refrained from providing too many guidelines during the meeting so that proposals would not come in as a regurgitation of ideas presented by officials.
“We’ve thought about this for some time now, so I think we’ve got a pretty good feel for what we think it should be, but again we need to be humble enough, wise enough to understand that we don’t understand it all,” Ray said.
Ray said the University is looking for proposals that provide innovative means of creating revenue streams.
“Any of the spinoff revenue that you can help us identify, then it goes back into the University, we’re going to put it back into that academic building and try to build that academic building,” Ray said. “It’s about optimizing the revenue for the University as well as service to the University.”
Ray said the University is looking for a proposal that reflects a high level of dedication to the system.
“I mean, look at Kyle Field, look at Texas A&M,” Ray said. “We want to be proud of this. We want the community to be proud of this. If somebody comes in here with a Budget Inn, a Day’s Inn, don’t waste your time. It needs to be quality.”
Considering the costly maintenance needs of an older building like Cain Hall, Ray said one of the motivations for the development of the area is a better facility for the offices in Cain Hall.
“Well the first thing we started looking at was we need a new academic building, we need a better Cain Hall to serve our students and for our vice president of student affairs,” Ray said.
Proposals are due Nov. 13, and once proposals are narrowed down, Ray said officials will likely reach out for student opinion.
Tom Reber, vice president of student affairs, said that the division of student affairs is willing to hold focus groups at a later date.
Ray said he is also open to the idea of presenting the redevelopment plans to Student Senate when they become available.

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