Campus Lofts Adds to Student Housing Community Around YSU

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Sophia Harakal graduated from Youngstown State University in December 2019. She lived on campus during her time as a Penguin.

As a business major, she worked at one of the newly built student apartment buildings on campus. Shortly after graduating, she was named the property manager of the soon-to-open Campus Lofts.

In January, Harakal began leasing space for YSU’s newest housing complex, which sits on the corner of Wick Avenue and Rayen Avenue. However, the university shut down in March due to COVID-19, and leasing and construction slowed. 

Although work on the building – such as installing furniture and appliances – came down to the wire,  Campus Lofts was ready to house students on Aug. 14, the day before the first students moved in.

“We were cutting it close, but we were working all hours of the day and night to get it done,” Harakal said.

Campus Lofts owner James Sabatine Jr. said the goal was to create a facility that “would be a draw” for prospective YSU students, not an option after students already enrolled at the university.

The lofts feature 23 floor plans. Strollo Architects worked on the room designs. Sabatine said the various models were a result of principal architect Gregg Strollo’s creative ways to utilize space. He said Stollo would come to him with ideas on how to use extra space in the units to help create a similar but still unique design.

The lofts have 190 beds in 71 units, and Harakal said the building is at 75% capacity. Sabatine said the approximately 20 local businesses were used to construct and furnish the building.

Santon Electric Co. installed the Campus Lofts’ security systems. In addition to Santon Electric-installed cameras posted throughout the property, guests must use a Butterfly video intercom to enter the building. If a guest selects a resident, the student will receive the video feed via their phone.

The costs to lease a unit ranges from $710 to $1,150. All utilities are added into lease, so residents don’t have to worry about additional costs.

“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for [the residents],” Sabatine said.

Due to the virus, many of the residents are Youngstown-area natives that transferred from other institutions to remain close to their families, according to Harakal. 

“For here, if school wasn’t opening, they could still have this apartment and still be close to home verses being far away,” Harakal said.

Harakal is still trying to play catch-up in regards to leases. While most of the students have already moved in, there are still some making the transition at the end of the fall semester. However, the lofts already have 50 leases scheduled for 2021.

“I love being able to talk to everybody,” Harakal said. “And the residents, they’re moms come in to tour, they’re dads come in to tour and they’re friends. … Their faces light up with excitement.

“It’s nice just to be part of the excitement, and getting them into the apartment they feel best in and the roommates they’ll work best with and be happiest with.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.