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  #1  
Old 09-13-2005, 01:50 PM
hoosier hoosier is offline
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The competition: College living turns lavish

College living turns lavish


Today's off-campus student housing offers everything from tanning beds to concierge service.
By STEPHANIE HAYES, Times Staff Writer
Published September 12, 2005



TAMPA - Taneica Phillips grabbed her shower door handle and turned around, eyes wide like saucers.

"Huge showers!" she said, showing off a glass-enclosed stall that looked like it would hold a compact car.

"It is a bit much," she said, grinning. "But I'm not complaining."

Phillips, a 22-year-old University of South Florida psychology major, lives in Avalon Heights, an off-campus student apartment complex across from USF's Tampa campus.

Forget about hot plates and pizza-box furniture. Avalon, and complexes like it, offer a new take on the college experience.

Fully furnished apartments with comforts like flat-screen televisions, hot tubs and tanning beds have become the status quo.

Phillips shares her suite at Avalon Heights with two other women. She has a minifridge, a microwave and a sink next to her bed, plus the full-sized kitchen she shares with her roommates.

The lifestyle holds at Campus Lodge, a sprawling, 46-acre student complex on Livingston Avenue that looks like a Walt Disney resort. Apartment suites are called "bungalows." The leasing office has a large antler chandelier, a stone fireplace, cozy leather furniture and a view of a sparkling pool.

"It is more resort living than it is college dorm living," said Reno Satterfield, regional property manager for Campus Lodge, which has five other locations.

Resident Katie Bigham, a 21-year-old psychology major who works in Campus Lodge's front office, has tried both living styles.

"I lived on campus my first year, and it's a big step up," she said. "We have parents come in here all the time who are like, "Wow, if we had this when we were growing up..."'

One issue of The Oracle , USF's student newspaper, had 11 advertisements for luxury apartments. It's not just Tampa, student housing is big business all over the country.

College Park, a company that manages two complexes around USF, manages properties in 26 states. Texas-based American Campus Communities has been involved in developing 90 complexes, and Allen & O'Hara Education Services has properties in 35 U.S. cities. Many student housing companies are publicly traded on the stock market.

On-campus housing also has crept up in quality, said Tom Kane, director of residence services at USF. Kane said USF has accommodations where 30 students share one bathroom, but also four-bedroom, living room and kitchen units.

Kane questions whether big-ticket amenities help or hurt students.

"When you go to college, the No. 1 thing you should be focused on is learning, so I'll ask the question, "Do you even need cable television?"' he said.

The answer, it seems, is yes.

"Our students in the residence halls have asked for seven HBO channels next year," Kane said.

If students want the best, they also want the simplest means to get it. Most apartments offer individual leases that pay for a student's room, a shared common area and utilities.

Rent at Boardwalk at Morris Bridge, three minutes from USF, is $490 per roommate a month, and includes water, sewer, electric, phone, Internet and digital cable. Other perks include a computer lab with free printing, a game room with X-box and PlayStation 2, a movie theater, a high-tech tanning capsule, a party-sized whirlpool, concierge service and a gym with a personal trainer.

Rent at Campus Lodge ranges from $449 to $559 per person for two-, three- and four-bedroom units, and includes all utilities except for a phone line.

Bigham said the individual-lease system makes college life a little easier.

"You don't have to worry about whether your roommates are paying," she said. "If they don't pay their rent, our rent doesn't go up or down or anything. We don't have to make up for them."

The demand for newer, bigger and better has even spread to a private dormitory that has towered across from USF since the 1960s.

Known for years as Fontana Hall, the dorm is now called The Edge at 42nd Street. Since developer Steve Walsh of Broad Street Partners bought the property almost two years ago, he has been busy giving the dorm a facelift.

By fall of 2007, the Edge will have a new eight-story tower, 400 more beds, a five-level parking garage, new paint, interiors, gym equipment, computers, a pool deck and flat-screen televisions in common areas.

Walsh doesn't foresee the market slowing in this area.

"The two major campuses where you can have growth anymore are (the University of Central Florida) in Orlando and USF in Tampa," Walsh said. "They both have some land left to expand. We expect the growth at USF to continue as the state grows."

Taneica Phillips said her motivation for choosing Avalon Heights was privacy. She likes having her own bedroom and bathroom, and the walk-in closet and huge shower are a plus.

Phillips didn't move into Avalon without some stern words from her mother.

"The first thing she said to me was, "You'd better keep this place looking nice and neat, because you're living much better than we are back home."'
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Old 09-13-2005, 02:48 PM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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This kind of thing becomes huge competition for Greek housing. In addition, many colleges are upgrading their dorms -- more single rooms, internet access, cable, etc.

Makes it hard to compete.

When daughter #1 was at Ohio University, we bought her a very nice little studio apartment condo about a half mile from campus. It included free bus service to campus and "uptown" along with workout room, pool, free parking and it was fully furnished and accessorized. We rented it out (Medical students loved it) for a few years after she graduated and the net effect was the she lived in it for free.

Tough to justify spending a lot of money on a chapter house with this kind of stuff available.
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Last edited by DeltAlum; 09-13-2005 at 02:52 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2005, 03:05 PM
Lindz928 Lindz928 is offline
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These kiddos are gonna get a shock when they graduate and mom and dad stop paying the bills. Then, when they have to move into a 400 square foot efficiency because it's the only thing they can afford they will understand.
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:54 PM
Kimmie1913 Kimmie1913 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lindz928
These kiddos are gonna get a shock when they graduate and mom and dad stop paying the bills. Then, when they have to move into a 400 square foot efficiency because it's the only thing they can afford they will understand.
EXACTLY! I hope some personal financial management and real world education goes along with that. Or some of them will be in for a huge shock when they graduate.
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Old 09-13-2005, 03:58 PM
cashmoney cashmoney is offline
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I lived in Campus Lodge in Gainesville and if you ask me, it was much nicer than the one in Tampa at USF. Then again I lived there when it was brand new and it was mostly people from South Florida that lived there. The rent was $550 per person per room. It was worth it because we had our apt on the thrid floor with vaulted cielings and it was centered directly across from the pool, like maybe 50 yards away with our back porch facing the pool. And the porch was screened. The rooms also had mirrors at the corners of the hall ways so you could see around every corner from laying in your bed....we liked it because if any of us were hooking up we'd leave the door open for everyone else to watch.


ETA: And there were no utility bills.....we had the AC on 60 all summer long.


BTW- this is nothing new. You guys should see some of the newer places. Complexes like Campus Lodge are now outdated.

Last edited by cashmoney; 09-13-2005 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:02 PM
cashmoney cashmoney is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kimmie1913
EXACTLY! I hope some personal financial management and real world education goes along with that. Or some of them will be in for a huge shock when they graduate.

I wasnt shocked, just pissed. I miss those carefree days so much.
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:05 PM
cashmoney cashmoney is offline
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This is Campus Lodge in Gainesville when it was being built:


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Old 09-13-2005, 04:09 PM
Lindz928 Lindz928 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by cashmoney
This is Campus Lodge in Gainesville when it was being built:


I'm amazed at how much that looks like the one in College Station.



I mean... WOW the pool is exactly the same! Weird.
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:27 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Lightbulb

OOPs caught Red Handed!
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:30 PM
cashmoney cashmoney is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lindz928
I'm amazed at how much that looks like the one in College Station.



I mean... WOW the pool is exactly the same! Weird.


Have you been in the one at College Station?
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:32 PM
valkyrie valkyrie is offline
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Am I the only one who thinks this sounds terribly unappealing? I'd rather live in a cute little vintage apartment that has some character. Complexes are gross and/or sterile, no matter how "nice" they're trying to be.
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Old 09-13-2005, 04:41 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by valkyrie
Am I the only one who thinks this sounds terribly unappealing? I'd rather live in a cute little vintage apartment that has some character. Complexes are gross and/or sterile, no matter how "nice" they're trying to be.
I totally agree. They built new complexes like this at Clarion and they just look ghastly to me. I mean, it's a box just like a dorm, albeit a nicer box.

The problem is getting the scumbag landlords to do necessary maintenance on the cute little vintage apartments, which I'd say is probably a big part of why students (and their parents) go for these. They're secure, the water and heating and electric is up to date, and you can call the complex manager and get your problem taken care of ASAP. Well, theoretically.
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Old 09-13-2005, 06:04 PM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lindz928
I'm amazed at how much that looks like the one in College Station.

I mean... WOW the pool is exactly the same! Weird.
Just curious why you would think it wierd? Probably owned by the same people and built from the same set of plans.
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Old 09-13-2005, 06:22 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Unhappy

Miss The Good Old Days when Members lived not In Lavish Digs but Lived there because they wanted to be with their Members.

It werent the best, but is was a palace to us!

How about Not having a place to call Your Own?
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Old 09-13-2005, 06:32 PM
Munchkin03 Munchkin03 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lindz928
These kiddos are gonna get a shock when they graduate and mom and dad stop paying the bills. Then, when they have to move into a 400 square foot efficiency because it's the only thing they can afford they will understand.
For some of these kids, mom and dad never will stop paying the bills.

Quote:
Originally posted by valkryieAm I the only one who thinks this sounds terribly unappealing? I'd rather live in a cute little vintage apartment that has some character. Complexes are gross and/or sterile, no matter how "nice" they're trying to be.
Aye!
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