RISE at State College sets the new standard for off-campus student housing in the Penn State market, creating a bridge between undergraduate, young professional, and affordable housing.
Matt Dula RISE at State College sets the new standard for off-campus student housing in the Penn State market, creating a bridge between undergraduate, young professional, and affordable housing.

Roughly 19.9 million students will attend colleges and universities this fall, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics on College Students. Of the 19.9 million, many will head to their prospective campuses for the 2019-2020 school year with new luxurious student housing options packed with resort-style amenities, such as rooftop pools, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and the latest technology upgrades.

Traditional, two-person dormitories with shared hall bathrooms still exist on many of the country’s college campuses, but student housing developers have amped up their offerings for their off-campus communities, typically located at walkable distances from the campuses, restaurants, and other nearby retail.

In a recent study by the National Multifamily Housing Council, researchers found that a bed in the average off-campus, purpose-built floor plan cost a student $10,965 per year, compared with the average annual rent of $7,717 per bed for on-campus residence halls, $7,056 for on-campus apartment floor plans, and $13,093 for off-campus, student-competitive floor plans.

Although the prices vary, both on- and off-campus developers put a significant focus on the social amenities in the past. But according to sources from a recent New York Times article, that notion has shifted to a more practical alternative. Large “innovation” rooms with 3D printers, hired staff to critique resumes and take headshots, and the newest technological advancements are emerging today. The following selection of projects from across the country showcases this new era of student housing. Check out their individual features and amenities below.

Courtesy American Campus Communities

University of Illinois at Chicago Academic and Residential Complex, Chicago; Developer: American Campus Communities; Architect: SCB Architects

On the site of a former 4-acre parking lot, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), in partnership with student housing developer American Campus Communities, opened its newest campus building, the Academic and Residential Complex, at the start of the 2019 school year. The new building, located steps from the UIC-Halsted Blue Line CTA stop, is made up of a two-story, 54,000-square-foot academic building as well as a 10-story, 146,000-square-foot residence hall. With roughly 548 beds, the residential space includes traditional two-person dorm rooms and semi-suite style units. The building was designed to achieve LEED Gold, with a green roof and other design additions to optimize sustainability.

Matt Dula

RISE at State College, State College, Pa.; Developer: CA Student Living; Architect: Shepley Bulfinch; Builder: LS Fiore Construction

Located across the street from Pennsylvania State University’s primary residence hall quad, RISE at State College offers 186 units of off-campus housing for a mix of young professionals, including undergraduates, graduates, and low-income families. With a diverse mix of target markets, the development team created a variety of unit types, all with single-occupancy bedrooms, in-unit laundry, and modern kitchens, and floor plans to allow residents to customize their living experience. The project also pays tribute to the area’s agriculture roots with interior design elements, such as the 9-foot tall polarmoss branding wall, highlighting the evolution of the university.

Iran Watson

My House on the 50, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Developer: South City Partners; Architect: The Preston Partnership; Builder: Harrison Construction

As the closest off-campus student housing development to the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium, My House on the 50 delivers an energetic environment surrounded by the sights and sounds of Alabama football. The six-story residential building includes four stories of wood-frame construction over a two-story parking garage, providing 155 beds in 44 units of one-, four-, and five-bedroom floor plans. A rooftop pool courtyard and sixth floor lounge with roll-up garage doors face the stadium and provide options for socialization, while individual study and meeting rooms are located throughout the property for quiet schoolwork time.

Ray Cavicchio

505 on Walnut, Syracuse, N.Y.; Developer: The Michaels Organization; Architect: Erdy McHenry Architecture; Builder: Hueber Breuer

Completed in August 2018, the 505 on Walnut adds 126 units and 363 beds to Syracuse University’s off-campus living options. The property includes one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments, with residents leasing by bed rather than by unit. As Syracuse’s first “smart student community,” the apartment complex features new technology, including an IoT system, which integrates amenities into a resident app connected to the voice-controlled Amazon Echo Dot. Student residents also have 24-hour access to the on-site fitness center, two large courtyards with an outdoor kitchen and dining areas, a fenced-in dog park, and an indoor common area with tiered amphitheater seating.

Lara Swimmer

Bellevue College Student Housing, Phase 1, Bellevue, Wash.; Developer: Bellevue College, William Tribble, executive director; Architect/Designer: NAC Architecture, Ron van der Veen

This 400-bed new housing development is helping take Bellevue College, Washington’s largest community college, from a commuter campus to a 24/7 live-learn experience for students. Located on the edge of campus and overlooking the athletic facility, the project also offers plenty of gathering spaces for students, such as a dining area, a commuter student hub, classrooms, public lounges, roof decks, and a terraced courtyard amphitheater. With sustainable living as a central theme, the 133,000-square-foot project is targeting LEED Platinum certification with efficient hot water heating, extensive rain gardens, and community-based incentives to promote energy conservation.

Courtesy Vie Management

Vie Towers, Hyattsville, Md.; Developer: Vie Management

After acquiring the property in 2018, Vie Management will host the grand opening of its Vie Towers high-rise, student housing community in Hyattsville, Md., on Sept. 19. The real estate company invested $5 million into the 910-bed community to better serve students from surrounding universities, such as University of Maryland and Howard University. Each newly renovated unit, offered in two-, three-, and four-bedroom options, comes fully furnished with matte appliances and washers and dryers. New faux hardwood floors, electronic key fobs, as well as complimentary high-speed Internet and cable are also included with the unit package.