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Forget The Ski Run: Students Want Housing With More Study Amenities

Rise on Chauncey Lounge at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

The beginning of a new school year means thousands of college students will start moving into both traditional single-room dorms, and new Class-A, off-campus communities with amenities typically found in luxury resorts. 

But developers of the latter communities say today's students don't want to see an amenities war, with builders adding an ever fancier set of creature comforts like artificial ski runs or rock-climbing walls. Instead, most say they want apartment buildings that, while comfortable, also provide spaces that promote academic success.

"While a full suite of social and wellness amenities, like club lounges, pools and fitness centers, are still important for residents, the trend has shifted towards well-designed spaces where students can spend time on either individual or group study," CA Student Living President  JJ Smith said. "For our 2019 deliveries and beyond, we’ve interspersed more study areas throughout aimed at helping students focus on their academics." 

At Rise on Chauncey near Purdue University, a new 675-bed facility, the company included a research room with conference seating and a study bar, as well as a cyber lounge.

The 16-story high-rise at 100 South Chauncey Ave. in West Lafayette, Indiana, is one of six student housing communities, totaling 3,000 beds, that CA Student Living, the student housing investment and development division of Chicago-based CA Ventures, opened for this school year.

Rise on Chauncey's exterior

The communities also include the 411-bed Link Evanston, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Like Rise on Chauncey, it provides students with academic support, but also doesn't lack fancy amenities. Both developments provide residents with a pool, grilling stations, a fire pit, flat-screen televisions and more.    

CA Student Living's remaining four new student communities are: the 621-bed Identity Miami, at Florida International University, Miami; the 665-bed Latitude at River Landing, at the University of Iowa in Coralville, Iowa; the 384-bed Latitude at Kent, at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio; and The Link University City, a 252-bed community at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  

Developers are slated to deliver 47,000 off-campus student housing beds this year, slightly ahead of the pace in 2018, but roughly on par with the average recorded since the start of the current cycle in 2011, according to RealPage, a provider of software and data analytics to the real estate industry.

Smith said he expects this pace of construction to continue over the next few years.

"We still see great opportunity for near-campus development," he said. "In fact, CA has already begun construction on an additional nine communities, with nearly 4,000 beds, to be delivered in fall 2020, and another 24 communities are in the predevelopment phase, which would deliver between 2021 and 2023."