When North Campus’s newest housing option, The Courtyard, opens this fall, the apartment complex marketing itself as a “private dorm” might be quieter than expected.
So far, just 20 percent of the complex’s available units have been rented for the fall.
The luxury apartment building, located across from Bursley Hall, is currently under construction. Once completed, The Courtyard will consist of three five-story buildings and offer 896 bedrooms, but only just one of those buildings is expected to be ready for the fall.
Becky Leirstein, The Courtyard’s sales and marketing manager, said another building could be opened by the fall if the company is able to lease all 282 bedrooms in the first building. The final building will not be ready for student until fall of next year.
The company overseeing the complex, Allen and O’Hara Education Service, Inc., manages similar complexes at other state schools including Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University.
Engineering Junior Eddie Hoskin said he was interested in the new apartments when he was looking to sign a lease last fall, but didn’t want to if construction wasn’t complete.
He eventually signed a lease at the Highland apartments near North Campus, where a two-bedroom apartment costs $950 a month.
Becky Leirstein, sales and marketing manager of The Courtyard, acknowledged she’d heard objections from students about price, emphasizing that complex managers would welcome feedback from students about pricing once the apartments are ready in the fall.
LSA Freshman Steve Balko, who lives in Baits I on North Campus, said he wasn’t familiar with The Courtyard’s amenities, but that he was glad to have another housing option.
“I think it’s cool that they are almost trying to outdo the dorms with more activities,” Balko said.
Though Balko has already leased an apartment on Central Campus for next year, he said he’d consider The Courtyard in the future because many of his classes are on North Campus.
Leirstein said The Courtyard’s leasing strategy is to target students like Balko, who have the majority of their classes on North Campus.
“We’re trying to find our niche market within the University and grab it,” Lierstein said.
Every student who signs a lease to live in The Courtyard will have access to free tanning, a mini-movie theater and an on-site gaming lounge. Courtyard staff members will also sponsor intramural sports teams, career-planning and study skills workshops for their residents.
Students living together will share a common area and kitchen, but each one will have his own bathroom and bedroom.
Monthly rent for The Courtyard varies by the number of students living in a single unit.
A four-bedroom, four-bath apartment costs $697 per month, while a single apartment runs $993.
Students’ monthly payment includes all utilities, cable and Internet. Unlike most residence halls on campus, every apartment also offers air-conditioning.
Within the next several years, several University residence halls, including Mosher-Jordan Hall, Stockwell Hall and North Quad will begin to offer air conditioning and other perks not available in most dorms.
Housing spokesman Peter Logan said it’s too soon to tell whether The Courtyard will pose any serious competition to the University-owned housing options.
He said the University-owned Northwood apartment complex on North Campus offers a similar style of living.
One advantage of University housing, he said, is that students don’t have to commit to a 12-month lease like they would with The Courtyard apartments.
But current Northwood resident and Engineering sophomore David Lloyd said he’d prefer more up-to-date housing.
“If I had to choose between living in that place and living in Northwood III, I would choose that place a thousand times over,” Lloyd said.