Education

Columbus Company Plans $7.8M Student Apartment Complex

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A private developer, Hallmark Campus Communities of Columbus, plans to build a $7.8 million, 162-bed student apartment complex on land along Fifth Avenue between Lincoln and Rayen avenues.

The land is owned by Youngstown State University and at its meeting Wednesday, YSU’s board of trustees authorized leasing 3.4 acres to the company for 40 years. The lease, financial terms of which were not disclosed, must be approved Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

Hallmark Campus Communities has developed student housing at universities across Ohio, including the University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Ohio University. The $7.8 million YSU project would be “solely financed by the developer” and built in stages, YSU said in announcing the lease.

Hallmark’s campus communities typically are branded as “University Edge,” according to its website. The apartments are fully furnished and include access to an on-site fitness center, pool, recreational area, game room, computer lab and theater room.

The YSU project is expected to be completed by fall semester 2016, which coincides with the university’s projection of increased demand for apartment style student housing, YSU said.

Hallmark says it helps “college and university communities establish private, off-campus housing that is consistent with their institution’s character and exceeds student expectations. With dozens of successful prior projects to our credit, we’re able to make excellent land acquisition and project performance estimates, keep the project on time and in budget and deliver forward-thinking purpose built student housing communities that open with leasing at or near completion.”

The company’s project at Kent State, branded as University Edge Kent, has a waiting list for the fall semester. This student apartment complex is managed by American Campus Communities, a publicly traded company based in Austin, Texas, that manages similar properties across the United States owned by developers like Hallmark.

During their meeting Wednesday, trustees also approved a $176.9 million fiscal 2016 operating budget that includes a freeze in undergraduate tuition for next academic year, assumes a 1% increase in enrollment and a 9% boost in state funding appropriations.

Full-time in-state undergraduate tuition will remain $4,043.64 per semester. The rate is the lowest among the state’s 11 largest public universities and $1,620 below the statewide average.

Tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students living in the 23-county “affordable tuition advantage” area will remain at $4,163.64 per semester. The rate is well below tuition at competing universities in western Pennsylvania, including Edinboro, Slippery Rock, Clarion and Indiana, YSU noted.

Graduate tuition will increase 3.6%. The budget plan also calls for a 4% increase in room and board rates at the university’s residence halls.

In other business, the board entered into an energy performance contract with Johnson Controls Inc. that is expected to cut utility costs by at least $2 million annually. The $16 million project will be funded with those savings through a financing package with PNC Equipment Finance.

The board also agreed to transfer $800,000 from its restricted discretionary gift fund to be used for improvements along Wick Avenue, one of the main entranceways to campus.

The university and the city of Youngstown are working in partnership to make significant improvements, including road resurfacing, sidewalk and curb replacement, lighting enhancements and moving utilities underground.

YSU has conceptually agreed to help finance work on approximately 0.75 miles of Wick Avenue adjacent to campus. The board’s restricted discretionary gift fund has a balance of $1 million, donated to the university last year by the late Dr. Maria A. Fok.

Pictured: University Edge at Kent.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.