‘It’s definitely inconvenient.’ Construction delays force UNCC students into hotels

Some UNC Charlotte students have been forced to live in off-campus hotels or other sites after a new privately-run student apartment building delayed move-in.

Spencer Gallimore, of Greensboro, planned to spend senior year living in a five-bedroom, five-bathroom townhome at the Haven49 on University Boulevard with four roommates. But a week before their Aug. 15 move-in date, he received an email saying the off-campus student apartments would not be ready until the end of the month.

So he and his friends put most of their stuff in a storage unit and he chose the option to stay in a double-bed hotel room with his brother.

“It’s definitely inconvenient,” said Gallimore, who has had to rely on a shuttle bus or ride-sharing apps to get to class from the Hilton University Place. He has only had a few outfits and one desk to share with his brother in the hotel room.

Construction workers were working on the new Haven49 apartment building on University Boulevard on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. Move-in at the apartment complex has been delayed twice and students are living in hotels. Lorena Rios Trevino

Haven49 did not respond to Observer phone calls or email requesting comment.

“Haven49 is not affiliated with the university, which does not own or operate or manage the property,” said UNCC spokeswoman Buffie Stephens.

At the Haven49 construction site on Wednesday, a chain-link fence was up around the project and construction equipment and workers were there. Plans for the Haven49 include 332 apartments, meaning up to hundreds of students potentially could be displaced now. The university said it did not know how many of its students have been impacted, Stephens said.

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Gallimore and his brother paid the first month’s rent to Haven49 — about $650 each for their own bedroom. The apartment complex paid for a hotel room for them to share and they each received a $500 gift card, Gallimore said.

A week before the rescheduled move-in date, Gallimore got another email, pushing back the date again to Sept. 15.

“We sincerely apologize for the construction delays at Haven49 and recognize the inconvenience and associated challenges that this has caused,” the email said.

After that, Gallimore decided to end his lease and find somewhere else to live.

UNC Charlotte student Spencer Gallimore has lived in a hotel during his first two weeks of classes. The brand new apartment building he planned to move into — the Haven49 on University Boulevard — is not ready for students. Lorena Rios Trevino

“The initial idea was I was just going to be in the hotel during syllabus week,” he told the Observer. “I’m getting into the full course load now.”

Gallimore picked up his keys to another apartment complex down the road on Wednesday.

Cheryl Thomas Bailey, the mother of a UNCC freshman wrote a review on Haven49’s Facebook page. “Commit to move in dates!,” Bailey wrote. “Yes, things happen, but your ‘offers’ are causing students extra $$$$. Now everyone is scrambling around. Great way to start the college experience.”

Bailey, of Holly Springs, told The Observer that her son has been sleeping on the floor at a friend’s place.

Haven49 responded to Bailey’s review on Facebook by saying, “We understand this has caused an inconvenience to all of our residents. The construction team is doing all that they can to expedite our newly scheduled move in date.”

Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope.