The ‘Echo’ Boom Gets Louder

particularly jittery. A storm that delays move-in can put a tremendous financial burden on the property.Also, should the student market atrophy, developers will find it impossible to attract traditional apartment renters because their housing designs are so unique. Most owners won’t even consider an exit strategy, because there isn’t one.Design distinctionsThanks to students’ dependence on…

particularly jittery. A storm that delays move-in can put a tremendous financial burden on the property.Also, should the student market atrophy, developers will find it impossible to attract traditional apartment renters because their housing designs are so unique. Most owners won’t even consider an exit strategy, because there isn’t one.Design distinctionsThanks to students’ dependence on cell phones, off-campus housing communities rarely need hard-wired phones. However, on-line classroom connectivity via the university’s intranet system is often a requirement. A resort-size pool and deck area, large spa and 24-hour fitness facility also boost rentals.”What’s in and what’s out?” asks Humphreys, rhetorically. “Green building is in, but crown molding, hard-wired phones and carpet are out, along with shared bedrooms and baths. I’ve got three daughters at home who serve as my in-house consulting staff.”The kitchen won’t be used for community cooking, so the size of stoves and other appliances can be scaled back. Lockable kitchen cabinets are popular, along with personal refrigerators in every bedroom. In fact, most architects design their bedroom furniture to accommodate this key appliance.”Never design a bathroom without a sink, but don’t put two sinks in the same bathroom,” warns Koch. “One sink in the bath and a second outside works best, especially for girls.”Because Mom and Dad pay for the education of most undergraduates, these students want all the luxuries, while Master’s candidates prefer only what is necessary to graduate—study rooms, a business center and a laundry room.Social spaces”We’ve included five-screen theaters, video suites and football and basketball courts on some projects, and most colleges are looking for these items to set themselves apart,” says McAllister. “Market-rate apartments can’t compete with this, so students will gravitate toward purpose-built facilities.”Because opportunities for socialization are key, Campus Advantage communities all feature “resident life programs” with community assistants available to engage the residents and help with outreach. In fact, every meeting place, laundry room and entertainment area needs to be designed with socialization in mind.”Unlike multifamily, our residents don’t just come home and shut the door,” says Peter. “There’s a lot of engagement going on, which builds a sense of community, and a sense of ownership, among the students. If you can help them bridge that step between home and college, you will be successful.”The first thing Peter notices when visiting poorly managed properties are the “penalty” signs for leaving out trash or being late with rents. “Calling them ‘kids’ and treating them that way will result in a negative attitude,” Peter explains. “We levy fines as well, but we cover them during move-in and in person-to-person, floor-wide meetings.”Student housing is also driving multifamily trends, and students who graduate and rent their first apartments will wonder where the bundled cable and Internet, community events and amenities have gone. “Student housing is no longer the red-headed step child in this industry,” says Peter. “It’s become a leader in terms of design trends, amenities and outreach with other residents.”

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