Shocker: Some Student Housing Caters To Academics
It isn’t all about the glitzy amenities for some student housing companies. EdR Collegiate Housing SVP Julie Skolnicki tells us many students are prizing access to faculty over resort-style pools. Join us June 14 for Bisnow’s Annual Student Housing summit in Philadelphia, to discuss development, investment and management of student housing in addition to enjoying some great networking opportunities.
Julie (shown here at a previous Bisnow event) says the on-campus market has never been busier. Requests for proposals are up 200%—and those requests are coming from quality institutions, both private and public. EdR has projects under development at Cornell, Northern Michigan University and the University of Kentucky. The company is finishing up a renovation at UC Berkeley opening in the fall 2016.
At Northern Michigan University, EdR is embarking on an $80M project that will demolish and replace four residence halls built in the 1960s. The new facilities will accommodate more than 1,200 beds in a house model accommodating freshman and sophomores in a combination of suite style doubles and singles, in addition to classrooms, a lodge and house common areas.
Those thousand beds make it possible to have really nice amenities, Julie tells us. You can afford some wow factor when the cost is spread over larger projects. Two of the most-prized amenities are location and WiFi. They’re non-negotiable, Julie says. Fitness centers and golf simulators are appealing too, but some amenities that produce the wow factor actually aren’t that expensive. Rooftop decks, for instance, are inexpensive, easy to do and create a lot of excitement.
Julie tells us that in many of her on-campus projects, she’s seen an increase in academically focused housing with amenities like classroom spaces and offices for faculty, as well as an increase in retail and dining.
Some of the growth of the student housing sector is from deferred maintenance, Julie says. Replacement housing like the Cornell University and Northern Michigan University projects also comprise a large chunk of activity, especially in the Midwest and Northeast.
And it’s a misnomer that enrollment is flat, Julie tells us. Flagship state schools and elite private institutions are growing, and those students are increasingly interested in living on or adjacent to campus.