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Old 12-11-2018, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,557 posts, read 17,535,380 times
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I live in Johnson City, TN, home to East TN State University. Several new dorms, probably about 4-5 floors, were built within the last ten years. There's a ton of new off-campus condo housing, but none of it is super high end. Still, it's one of the few parts of the local area that is seeing any building at all.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:29 AM
 
Location: mo county md
565 posts, read 328,498 times
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Blacksburg,VA post-1999.
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:46 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,540,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintainschaos View Post
Hmm, you'll undoubtedly get pushback on your list of "iconic" college towns: e.g., Iowa City is in the same league as Bloomington/Champaign/E. Lansing (not Ann Arbor or Madison) IMO; Austin (like Columbus) is nearly a million people and isn't what I'd consider a quintessential college town, despite how large of a presence UT has there.

Other college towns rising to new heights? I suppose Evanston is becoming a bigger destination than it used to be with its downtown expanding and building upwards, but it's also very quintessential suburban Chicago making it an unusual mix. I think Northampton, MA is an oft overlooked college town, but I'm not sure I'd argue it is rising to new heights. Same with La Crosse, WI.

Not sure whether I know of a good example of a town ascending to the big leagues that doesn't have something else also going for it (insurance mecca/industry/government).
Boulder (mentioned above) has the bold-IBM, a huge Google installation, several federal labs (though the labs probably located there because of the universtiy), many smaller IT companies; plus it's about 30 miles from Denver. Even though it's in its own MSA per the census bureau, a lot of people live in Boulder and work in Denver and its burbs, and vice versa as well.

Champaign? Champaign's population hasn't increased much since I lived there 47 years ago. Champaign and Urbana together are about 130,000; they were about 100,000 in 1971. THE major employer is the University of Illinois, with a local hospital/clinic a distant second, followed by the Champaign school district, then the Heinz-Kraft foods factory.
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation | Directories & Reports
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Old 12-11-2018, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
712 posts, read 397,267 times
Reputation: 1207
Athens, GA
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Oxford, MS
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Maryland
4,268 posts, read 5,473,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
Champaign? Champaign's population hasn't increased much since I lived there 47 years ago. Champaign and Urbana together are about 130,000; they were about 100,000 in 1971. THE major employer is the University of Illinois, with a local hospital/clinic a distant second, followed by the Champaign school district, then the Heinz-Kraft foods factory.
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation | Directories & Reports
... Right, which is why I said Champaign is a quintessential/iconic college town (although the metro area is now ~250,000, definitely larger than Iowa City or Bloomington, and a 30% increase is decent).
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:47 AM
 
11,874 posts, read 32,899,856 times
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Cookeville, Tennessee

Population of around 35,000 with 12,000 college students. For decades many outdoorsy types went to college in Cookeville because of the natural beauty of the surrounding area, many areas in secret locations on private land, and upon graduating they'd leave and head to employment centers like Nashville and Atlanta. Now that many of those formerly secret areas have been bought by the state and opened as state parks, others are migrating to Cookeville which now has 24 state parks and natural areas within a half hour of town. For example, in years past you'd have to drive to Knoxville to buy a kayak, but now there are a half dozen kayak dealers in town as well as a kayak manufacturer, started by an Olympic kayaker lured to the area because of the [formerly secret] rapids and rivers.

Other businesses and manufacturers have followed, with over 4,000 new jobs in the last 3 years, meaning now many TTU students are able to stay in the area they grew to love. Some examples:
  • Government contractor SAIC which recently opened a "technology integration gateway" in downtown Cookeville rather than in some office park in Northern Virginia or in Oak Ridge TN where it already has facilities. After just a year, it already employs 120 IT engineers and will have over 300 at its office within the next 18 months.
  • Automated Tools opened a lab where it employs 100+ engineers making over $100k (a fortune in small town Tennessee).
  • Italian ceramics conglomerate Colorobbia is building a research facility in Cookeville to house a few dozen chemical engineers to assist in Tennessee's ceramic tile industry.
  • Ficosa/Panasonic has opened a facility employing 600 that has invented and manufactures high-tech car rear view mirrors. It plans to employ 900 within a year.
  • Two software companies have moved to Cookeville in the last year, one from Arizona and one from Utah, employing around 100 between the two of them.
With the surge in population and employment has come the money to refurbish and renovate the historic downtown area which is also less than a mile from the university, now connected to downtown and points beyond via a bike trail. What used to be decrepit and boarded-up buildings are now filled with galleries, 30+ restaurants and cafés, shops and boutiques, museums, doctors offices, and other businesses. Downtown Cookeville has a 98% occupancy rate, and a Hilton hotel and conference center is about to break ground downtown at an abandoned textile factory.
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Last edited by JMT; 12-12-2018 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:08 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33050
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maintainschaos View Post
... Right, which is why I said Champaign is a quintessential/iconic college town (although the metro area is now ~250,000, definitely larger than Iowa City or Bloomington, and a 30% increase is decent).
The population of the US grew >50% at the same time.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:09 AM
 
29,890 posts, read 27,333,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
I would venture a place like Columbia SC (U of South Carolina) in that category if already including hybrids like Madison WI or Lansing/East Lansing MI.
Yeah Columbia most definitely fits the criteria here. There have actually been complaints of too much private student housing being built but I think it's been a net positive for Columbia in helping to spread pedestrian activity and lure certain retailers downtown, most notably Urban Outfitters.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Maryland
4,268 posts, read 5,473,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
The population of the US grew >50% at the same time.
And, of course, you're aware that the entire country isn't growing by the same rate in all places. Most locations in the Midwest aren't growing at the rate of Phoenix, for example.

Illinois only grew by 15% during the same time frame. The Midwest in general barely grew by a greater % from 1970 to now. C-U grew by over twice that (~42% from 1970 to today's estimates). Even Madison, which is arguably one of the more robust college towns in the Midwest, only grew by 49% during that time frame. Ann Arbor, by contrast, grew by 29%.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:54 AM
 
493 posts, read 253,837 times
Reputation: 639
Greenville, NC, home of East Carolina University. It is seeing major investment in its downtown due to ECU.
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