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New high-rise apartment building on track

Paul Sherman/Daily
The new Varsity apartment building will be opening its doors next fall. Buy this photo

By Danielle Stoppelmann, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 10, 2013

Students looking for housing next year might have a new option: the high life.

The Varsity, a new 13-story, 181-unit high-rise at 425 East Washington Street, is ahead of their construction schedule and projected to be completed by the end of June 2013, after 14 months of construction.

The building, located next to 411 Lofts, is being developed by Potomac Holdings, LLC, a company based in Bethesda, Md.

Work is currently under way on the third floor, where ceilings have been primed and are being painted with a final coating. Rob Rankin, project manager for Skanska, the building's construction company, said the next step is to install cabinets and flooring, after which workers will begin the same process on higher floors.

In addition, Rankin said concrete will be poured onto the building’s roof on January 15. Exterior bricks are also being placed.

Potomac Holdings partner Scott Shinskie, an owner and developer of The Varsity, said in an interview that residents are expected to move in Aug. 23.

Shinskie said the plan to complete the project two months before residents are scheduled to move in is “irregular of the industry."

“Any time we begin a development we’re extremely sensitive to the fact that we will have students depending on us for their housing needs,” Shinskie said. “Fortunately, since we’ve had a mild winter, we are already ahead of schedule … (we have) ample time to prepare the property for resident move-in.”

Campus Apartments, the management company, will equip the building with furniture, gym equipment, televisions and other finishing touches once the construction is completed in June. These features should take between two and three weeks to install.

Two months after Landmark — the new high-rise on South University Avenue — opened in September, several promised amenities were still unavailable. Residents were given $500 Visa gift cards or $500 in rent reductions to as a result.

To assure prospective residents that a similar situation won't occur, Campus Apartments is offering the “Varsity Vow,” which promises a $150 rent reduction every month that amenities are not complete.

Sarah Tatum, Campus Apartments regional sales and training specialist, said she is planning to avoid chaos on move-in day by assigning residents staggered move-in dates. She added that a staff of extra managers, cleaners and vendors will be on-site during move-in to accommodate any needs that residents may have.

Shinskie said he plans on giving small tours to residents who have already signed leases once interior finishes are completed to “give them the comfort that their building is going to be done on time.”

“We don’t ever stop trying to refine and make our product better,” Shinskie said. “I think students are going to be really impressed.”


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