Master Plan

In 2005, Princeton University formed a comprehensive Housing Master Plan to enhance housing programs for faculty, staff and graduate students. The plan was developed to include a comprehensive set of strategies, analyzing the present and future needs at Princeton University.

Campus Plan

The housing plan represents an exciting commitment to providing new and improved housing options for faculty and staff.

Princeton University is committed to maintaining and strengthening its identity as a residential institution providing faculty and staff with rental and ownership opportunities on or near campus. Currently, eligible faculty and staff are housed in more than 250 rental units and in excess of 140 ownership units located near campus.

New housing opportunities at Merwick Stanworth
The Housing Plan provides rental units for eligible faculty and staff on two sites north of campus. These sites include the former Merwick Care Center rehabilitation facility and the current Stanworth Apartments. The University selected American Campus Communities, a development company from Austin, Texas, to construct and manage the 326 unit Merwick Stanworth Faculty and Staff  Housing Complex.

The Merwick Stanworth project features a mix of apartments and townhouses, including affordable units available to local residents with low-to-moderate incomes. The complex will create a close-knit community that adds a significant number of new units, incorporates sustainable design features, preserves the existing landscape and enhances the surrounding neighborhood.

For graduate students, new construction will provide significant upgrades and reallocation of space to meet demand.

A rewarding University experience includes the opportunity for graduate students to live on or near campus. Presently a range of housing for graduate students exists, including dormitories and apartments, but many were built more than 40 to 60 years ago and most need renovation or reconstruction. More than 70% of all graduate students are housed at the Graduate College or in University rental units.

New housing at Lakeside
In the Master Plan, University housing will continue to be home to a large majority of graduate students. A new complex of apartments and townhouses, Lakeside Graduate Housing, has replaced the former Hibben Magie Apartments built over 50 years ago.  Lakeside now provides housing for more than 700 graduate students in 74 townhome units and 255 apartments.

The complex features a Commons Community Center with a fitness room, a lounge, a computer cluster with printer, and a children's playroom. Outside, residents enjoy grassy expanses, a patio for barbecuing, and basketball and volleyball courts. A multi-level garage with over 500 spaces provides parking for residents.

American Campus Communities of Austin, Texas is the devleoper and property manager of Lakeside Graduate Housing.

Butler tract
The University plans to demolish the 70 year-old buildings at the Butler tract (bounded by Harrison Street, Hartley Avenue and Sycamore Road), after Lakeside is completed. Princeton has no immediate plans for construction at this site.

Answers to your questions can be found on our Graduate Student Housing FAQ page.

Graduate student housing occupancy

  • Construction of Lakeside Graduate Housing Apartments was completed June 1, 2015
  • Lakeside opened for occupancy in June 2015

Faculty and staff housing occupancy

  • Merwick opened for occupancy in summer 2014 and is available for leasing
  • Construction of units on Stanworth from summer 2015 to summer 2016
  • As of October 2016, all units available for leasing

Short-term visitor housing project

  • Olden House opened for occupancy in spring 2015 and is available for leasing

In September of 2005 Princeton began a two-year campus planning process, intended to insure that the next ten years of growth be designed with a clear vision for the campus and its role in the community. The Campus Plan that emerged took a comprehensive and integrated approach to the campus by studying and providing recommended strategies over six overarching themes, one of which was housing.

Three principles for formulating a housing plan were articulated in the Campus Plan. They were:

  • Sustain Princeton's thriving living and learning community by providing faculty and staff with rental and ownership housing in proximity to campus.
  • Continue to house a large majority of graduate students.
  • Improve the quality and condition of all of the University's off-campus housing, with particular attention to large complexes that are over forty years old.

Using the Campus Plan principles, the Housing Study Committee embraced the following tenets to develop a plan for the present and future housing needs of graduate students, faculty and staff.

  • Improve the quality and condition of off-campus housing.
  • Many rental units have outlived their useful life and are not desirable by today's rental housing market standards. There are urgent needs for health, safety and accessibility upgrades.
  • Minimize significant impacts to the percentage of graduate students housed at Princeton.
  • One of Princeton's defining characteristics is its small, residential community that provides academic and extracurricular opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. More than 70 percent of graduate students live on campus, either in dormitory style living at the Graduate College or in rental properties. In planning for change, it was important to continue to provide housing for a large majority of the graduate student population.
  • Make best use of real estate within the University context.
  • An important consideration in devising the plan was the best use of property, taking into account the desired living arrangements of graduate students, faculty and staff, property locations, zoning and environmental requirements.
  • Provide ownership and rental housing for faculty and staff close to campus, including short term/transitional and visitor housing.
  • Maintaining a thriving living and learning community, is a defining characteristic of Princeton. Providing rental and ownership housing opportunities for faculty and staff close to campus, in many cases within walking distance, enhances the residential community.
  • Rely on the local rental and real estate market to satisfy any unmet need. The University is committed to providing assistance to individuals needing help in finding a suitable place to live.

The housing plan was developed using a comprehensive set of strategies, analyzing the present and future needs of graduate students, faculty and staff.

The steps taken:

  • Best practice analysis.
  • The Housing Study Committee identified other institutions of higher learning with residential college programs that could offer potentially valuable comparative information.
  • Interviews with developers.
  • The Housing Study Committee met with outside developers and property managers to review options for building off-campus housing.
  • Surveys, including focus groups, and academic department chair interviews.
  • The Housing Office conducted surveys with focus groups to gather perspective from graduate students, faculty, and staff about their housing preferences and what factors drive their housing decisions.
  • Evaluation of potential sites for redevelopment.
  • The Housing Committee evaluated potential acquisition and development sites as well as existing inventory for opportunities for reconfiguration and or redevelopment.