Authentic Student Housing Development Has Unique Advantage

University House Communities's development strategy has the home-field advantage.
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Norman, Okla.—A new University House community is being planned for the site of the current Bishop’s Landing Apartments near the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The announcement was made by the developer, University House Communities (UHC), formerly known as Inland American Communities Group Inc., a Dallas-based development, acquisition and management company. “University House Communities is dedicated to the creation of authentic communities in university markets across the U.S., where residents can live and learn in top-tier environments,” said UHC Senior Vice President David Pierce

Fully furnished studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans will be included in the five-story, 388-unit, 917-bed development. Common-area amenities will include three outdoor courtyard areas, a clubroom, genius lounge, pool, 24-hour fitness, parking and on-site management, UHC reported.

University House residents will be able to access the campus via the Norman CART bus system, with a transit hub directly across the street from the property.

“Norman, home to the top-tier, nationally recognized University of Oklahoma, is an attractive market and is consistently on the radar for university-related developments near campus,” Pierce told MHN.

“However, there are currently only a limited number of walkable pedestrian-to-campus housing options and no pedestrian, purpose-built student housing developments in Norman at this time, which is very unusual for a flagship school of this size,” he said. This site offered unparalleled proximity to campus at a location that functionally serves as an eastern gateway to campus in the shadow of Memorial Stadium. [It is] immediately adjacent to campus and a five-minute walk to the academic core of campus.”

A number of challenges remain for the developers. They include the timing of demolition and construction starts, permitting and significant site work to “get permitted and completed” before vertical construction can begin, Pierce said.

“In addition, we now own an operating property there and need to make the move out process as smooth as possible for the current residents,” he added. “But we plan for contingencies and believe our schedule allows for enough flexibility to meet our current timing goals.”

University House will be an outstanding asset to the University of Oklahoma and Norman, Pierce said. That’s because it will allow students, faculty, staff and others who desire an off-campus living and learning experience to live virtually on campus.

In addition, the completed project should reduce traffic to Norman from residents currently commuting to and from campus multiple times daily, and should free up parking as a result of residents enjoying a walkable environment, he said.

“We are improving the streetscape and ambiance of a significant gateway to campus daily, and especially on game day,” Pierce concluded.