At a recent meeting of the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Advisory Board, the Board presented member William Leandri with a plaque noting his dedication and service to the campus through the purchase, update, and expansion of the Nittany Commons, an independent apartment complex adjacent to campus.
Leandri said in the 17 years that he's been involved with the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Advisory Board, the single biggest challenge faced was to increase the availability of nearby student housing that could accommodate the many requests from students outside the Wilkes-Barre area.
"When I became Chairman of the Advisory Board in 2007, I told Chancellor Davis that I wanted to address this issue and initially approached two different investor groups about purchasing the two existing student housing buildings and expanding their capacity," Leandri said.
"After both of these possibilities failed to materialize, I then discovered that a former banker friend of mine named Dennis Dunn was involved with student housing at other colleges," Leandri said. "I contacted him and brought him and his group to our area and we founded Apple Alley Associates and purchased the two existing buildings. Within two months of our purchase, we hired Trade Eastern Inc. and completely refurbished and upgraded the older buildings and installed all new appliances and furniture."
Since that time, Apple Alley Associates has again commissioned Trade Eastern Inc. to begin construction on the third building, which was completed in January 2010. A fourth building is currently under construction and scheduled to be completed in August 2010. The addition of these two building will increase the capacity from 65 beds at the time of the initial purchase to about 170 beds, a more than 160 percent increase in less than two years.