University of South Carolina Keeps Local Student Housing Market Hot
By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
Student housing is now one of the most dynamic markets in South Carolina, especially in the Columbia metro area. One of the main drivers of the local housing boom has been and continues to be the University of South Carolina (USC), which has steadily increased it student body.
In fact, Student Housing Planet reports that USC has 5,600 more students than 10 years ago. Increasing enrollment was necessary to balance out the loss of state funding, but it has created a shortage of student housing. Furthermore, a significant percentage of existing dormitories needed upgrades. Half of the 25 student residences still need upgrade and maintenance work.
Student Housing Planet reports that USC has spent $94.6 million on renovating six student dormitories in the last four years. Among those is Patterson Hall, which underwent a $32.5 million upgrade in 2011, turning an outdated property into a suite-style development striving for LEED Silver certification. The 544-bed, nine-story dormitory features amenities such as smart classrooms, a cyber lounge, Wi-Fi, spacious kitchens on every floor and larger rooms.
Such revamping is probably what the 551-bed Women’s Quad is in for as well, as the three dormitories within it—McClintock, Sims and Wade Hampton—are slated for a $27.2 million upgrade. By 2015, 1,270 rooms making up seven dorms are slated for renovation at a minimum estimated price tag of $35.4 million. Seven more buildings will be redeveloped or completely replaced after 2015.
The renovation of the Women’s Quad will also include connecting the three dorms, creating 50 more student beds. This along with six new Greek houses totaling 240 beds that could be built in a parking lot across the Greek Village could diminish the housing shortage substantially.
Partnerships with private student residences are needed as well, and there seems to be no shortage of proposed projects. As previously reported on this page, several private student housing projects have been approved in the past few months and are in various stages of development. Such is the Ben Arnold–Monarch Ventures partnership project dubbed Monarch at USC, which aims to redevelop the former SCANA building into an 851-bed, 21-story dorm.
The 258-unit project would offer one- to five-bedroom apartments with amenities such as a study lounge, conference and club rooms, and a fitness center with yoga and steam rooms. Street-level retail, as well as a car and bicycle park, are also imagined.
While Monarch was announced in summer 2012, WC Columbia LLC just recently filed documents with Columbia’s Design and Development Review Commission for a 122-unit 249-bed multifamily project on Pendleton Street near the Amtrak station, reported Student Housing Planet.
Photo courtesy of University of South Carolina Housing’s Facebook Page