University City

January 14, 2013

University City apartments will offer top-notch amenities

Land development company Crescent Resources is building two apartment complexes in University City, including one that it touts as an innovative option for student housing.

This story was published in some of the Observer’s regional sections on Sunday.

Land development company Crescent Resources is building two apartment complexes in University City, including one that it touts as an innovative option for student housing.

Construction on Circle University City, a $36 million project geared toward UNC Charlotte students, began at the end of December; Crescent expects to have units available by the start of the 2014 fall semester.

Crescent chose to build in University City because of the increasing enrollment at UNC Charlotte, and, consequentially, a higher demand for housing, a release said.

The number of students at UNCC has increased this school year by about 1,000, the school’s spokeswoman, Buffie Stephens, told the Observer. In total, more than 26,000 students enrolled.

The location is a 4.7-acre site on the south side of University City Boulevard between Mark Twain Road and Suther Road.

To attract students, amenities will include study and lounge areas, a game room, a rooftop terrace, tanning beds, a salt-water pool, outdoor fire pits and sustainable features involving solar-powered and recycled components.

“While amenities are important, we believe social programming plays a much more dynamic role in attracting college students to communities we create for them,” said Ben Collins, the regional director for Crescent, in an email. “It isn’t necessarily that the amenities themselves are revolutionary, but the design that ... transforms how the amenities are utilized by our student residents.”

The complex will have 546 beds in 187 units. There will be a mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom units, said Kathryn Blanchard, a spokeswoman for Crescent. She said rent rates will be decided closer to the time the complex opens.

Luxury student apartments are a growing trend. Just this summer, three apartments buildings opened in Raleigh, near N.C. State, with amenities such as granite countertops, pet spas and golf simulators. Those apartments are leased by bedroom instead of by unit.

Collins declined to say if Crescent is interested in leasing by bedroom, which has been a topic of conversation with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department and a citizen advisory group. Leasing by bedroom, rather than by unit, has become popular in the University City area; but it has attracted crime when nonstudents are roomed in units with students.

Under leasing by bedroom, each roommate is responsible only for the rent on his bedroom, and tenants don’t necessarily know or choose their roommates.

The practice is illegal because it is not in Charlotte’s zoning ordinances, but the citizen advisory group is trying to figure out how to make leasing by bedroom a safe and legal option for students.

The group will make a recommendation to the Charlotte City Council in February.

“We are aware of the discussion and want to help find a solution that meets the needs of the student residents and our community at large,” Collins wrote. “Our objective is to meet the needs of our potential residents. Currently, a lot of student housing across the country is leased by bedroom.”

The other complex, called Circle Alexander Village, is under construction on Senator Royall Drive south of Mallard Creek Church Road in University Research Park. This complex will be geared toward people who work in University Research Park.

The complex, a $33.6 million venture, will have openings this fall, Blanchard said. The 320 units will be on a 27-acre site. There will be several amenities – including bocce courts, a yoga lawn and an amphitheater.

Charlotte-based Crescent Resources LLC is a real estate development and land management company that was formerly owned by Duke Energy.

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