New “campus near” apartment complex will accommodate more students
By Charlie Gstalder | Staff Writer
A new set of University Station apartments are under construction with plans in place to build units capable of housing 149 residents by July 2020.
According to local news source Fox 19, construction on the 49-unit expansion began in August and, when completed, will stand adjacent to the Health United Building (HUB) and the current U-Station complex. The development was planned as a partnership among landowner Xavier University, Terrex Development and Construction, Messer Construction Co. and M&A Architects. Messer and M&A have worked extensively with the university in years past, most recently on the HUB.
“We’re proud to assist in fulfilling the housing needs of the university and further Messer’s outstanding, longtime relationship with Xavier,” Messer Development Vice President Brian Doyle said in an official statement. “We’re excited to kick-start additional development at the site and continue the revitalization in the community that began in 2013.”
U-Station apartments are not considered “on-campus” housing but rather function as “campus near” housing for the university. “Campus near” refers to land that is owned by Xavier but leased to a third party — in this case Uptown Rental Properties — which manages the apartment complex. This system allows Xavier students to live nearby without the university taking on the upkeep and operations costs of on-campus residence halls and apartments.
“Xavier has limited resources for how much housing we can build, so this allows us to have housing for our students without having to do it all ourselves,” Vice President of Facilities Bob Sheeran said.
Other institutions designated as “campus near” include the All for One Shop and Starbucks.
According to Sheeran, both sets of U-Station Apartments were first planned roughly 15 years ago.
The university’s acquisition of the land on which the apartments stand began in 1990 following an explosion at a chemical plant formerly located there. Initially, developers planned to build a hotel there but became apprehensive about placing a hotel far from the interstate. Thus, the idea of using the land for student housing was born.
The first U-Station apartment complex was completed in 2014 and added 180 apartment units for rent at a developer cost of $54 million, according to Fox 19.
Sheeran also discussed the long history of housing development around Xavier’s campus.
“My father went here in the ‘40s when there was nearly no on-campus housing,” he said. “Now that the university has built more of a national footprint, we decided we would like to provide 70% of our students with campus housing, if they want it.”
Future construction projects are also in the works to continue toward the 70% goal and accommodate the university’s growing student population.
This includes the potential construction of another undergraduate dorm on the plot of land between Kuhlman and Buenger halls. The projected dorm would hold 300 to 400 beds and is currently in the planning phase.
Shane Manzi, a sophomore finance major, was thrilled by the idea of more places for students to live.
“I think expanding (campus near) housing is great. Our student body is expanding, and it hasn’t always been easy for my class to get places to live,” Manzi said. “Right now the option is spend a lot of money on campus or move off campus, so I think if there was a cheaper alternative I would have taken it.”
Uptown Rentals is currently renting units for the 2020-2021 school year in the soon-to-be completed complex.