Surging UA Enrollment Attracts $150 Million in Private Student Housing Projects

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012 12:00 am  

UA-controlled housing can handle about 5,300 students, and conventional apartments and rent houses have historically filled the gap.

The mounting number of shiny new off-campus student housing projects, tripped out with the latest amenities and trendy furnishings, presents a new phenomenon in the market.

"It's kind of impressive what's going on," said Brian Donahue, senior associate at the Tulsa office of the commercial real estate services giant, CBRE Group Inc. "What gets built will be absorbed. It's just a matter of how long."

Apartment occupancy in the Fayetteville market stood at about 94.9 percent as of June, according to data compiled by CBRE.

Donahue is unaware of any sizable traditional market-rate apartment projects in the works for Fayetteville. He said conventional apartment players are sitting on the sidelines watching and waiting to see what effect the new models targeting students will have on the traditional multifamily market.

The projects are positioned to offer a hybrid apartment-dorm experience, featuring a best of both worlds pitch.

Apartment-style swimming pools, clubhouses and full kitchens are combined with private bathrooms and an upscale dorm layout with utilities and high-speed Wi-Fi included.

In addition, individual residents are only responsible for their own monthly rent, so no more deadbeat roommate worries. Rates at The Grove appear comparable to on-campus options.

The monthly rent for a share of a three-bedroom/three-bathroom 1,200-SF floor plan is $585 and $615 for a share of a 1,000-SF two-bedroom/two-bathroom model.

The rates are higher than conventional apartments. Monthly rent for a two-bedroom/two-bathroom layout averages $652 in Fayetteville.

The opening of The Grove on the southern edge of campus provided an alternative home for 120 Kappa Kappa Gamma members while their on-campus sorority house undergoes a $7 million renovation and expansion during the 2012-13 school year.

"Even their house mother is here," said Liz Forsbach, sales manager at The Grove in Fayetteville.



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