Friday, August 17, 2012

Is Demand for Student Housing Driven By Light Rail or Something Else?

There is new student housing development happening in Minneapolis next to the University of Minnesota and near the soon to open light rail line. The StarTribune says the housing demand is because of the light rail. Here is the headline:
Light rail attracts more student housing on the U of M campus
Here is the story:
More new student housing is headed to the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus. OpusDevelopment Corporatio said this morning that The Station on Washington will be a six-story building with 11,200 square feet of retail space on the ground-level and five floors of apartments with 97 units and a total of 156 bedrooms. The company closed on the land this week and plans to start building this week with completion slated for August 2013.

The project is at the corner of Washington Avenue and Walnut Street across from a new rail station and will replace Mercil's Campus Auto Repair.

Rental housing development on and around campus has been more than robust over the past year, with hundreds of new apartments aimed at student renters. Opus, for example,recently completed Stadium Village Flats, which is just down the street from the The Station on Washington and is now fully leased with a CVS pharmacy, Noodles & Co. and Dino's Gyro. Dave Menke, senior vice president and general manager at Opus, said that the goal of the project is to offer convenience of campus-living with easy access to the light rail transit.
Over the past decade very few apartments were built in Minneapolis, so with the housing market still recovering and household growth expected, developers are planning to build thousands of new rental apartments in Minneapolis. Most of that activity is happening in the North Loop, Uptown and Stadium Village/Dinkytown neighborhoods.

In the grand scheme of things my money is on the presence of the University of Minnesota driving demand for student housing rather than light rail transit.
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