As construction began this summer on the Campustown Redevelopment Project in Ames, Iowa, new signs have gone up at the construction site advertising two new luxury student apartment complexes. These complexes, named The Foundry and 23 Twenty Lincoln, will be located just across the street from Iowa State University and will fulfill a need for more student housing as enrollment at the university increases. While there is market niche for these apartments, they may not prove beneficial to the community as a whole.
The trend of luxury student living only recently emerged in college towns across the country. Developers recognized the continuous housing demand from students, who are often willing to pay more than the average tenant because of financial support from parents or access to student loans. As a result, developers began building rent-by-the-room, often furnished apartment communities with lavish amenities like pools and fitness centers. These complexes are restricted to college students and are treated more like dormitories than apartments, with roommate-matching services and resident assistants. The two luxury apartment communities to be built in Campustown — The Foundry and 23 Twenty Lincoln — feature many amenities, including a study lounge, game room, computer lab, fitness center, and heated underground parking. The buildings will also have ground floor retail, as described on their respective websites.
These luxury student housing complexes seem to dominate the Campustown redevelopment project currently underway. The intent of this redevelopment is to transform a neighborhood that could once have been described as a “student ghetto” into a thriving focal point of the city. While the luxury apartments will be a significant improvement to the neighborhood’s quality of housing, the development could lead to gentrification and the relocation of all non-student residents. However, this accommodation of students in high-priced luxury apartments could also free up the existing affordable housing stock for non-students, improving the overall housing situation in the city. It remains to be seen how the community will be affected in the long term by the addition of these luxury student apartments.
Do you think luxury student apartments only benefit the developers, or do they also have the potential to benefit the community?
Credit: Images by Molly Carpenter. Data linked to sources.