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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Student housing on the rise throughout Tucson

Kyle+Wasson%2FDaily+Wildcat%0A%0AA+construction+crane+hangs+above+1020+Tyndall+Ave.+as+workers+build+a+new+dorm+hall+on+the+UA+campus.
Kyle Wasson/Daily Wildcat A construction crane hangs above 1020 Tyndall Ave. as workers build a new dorm hall on the UA campus.

A 14-story private student housing complex, which will house over 500 students on the corner of Tyndall Avenue and First Street next fall, has brought about more construction to campus and the rearrangment of a long-standing local business, and plans to build more are already underway.

Despite some opposition from the surrounding neighborhood, a zoning overlay approved by Tucson’s mayor and council allowed the Chicago-based Campus Acquisitions to start building the housing complex, called “Level,” in May. Construction for the $25 million project is in full swing and should be open by August 2013.

Posner’s Art Store had been at the same location at 1025 North Park avenue for almost forty years. The store relocated this summer after their landlord sold the property to the Campus Acquisitions. While she was initially uneasy about having to relocate, Emily Brown, the store’s owner, said University Boulevard might be a better location for their store.

“It looks like an art store,” Brown said. “I really like the look … I think this has much more of the feel of an older business.”

Surrounding merchants are also excited to have the art store as it is a destination for many art students, Brown added. Brown also said Campus Acquisitions and the Marshall Foundation, who owns the property Posner’s moved into, have been helpful through the transition. Campus Acquisitions gave the store owners plenty of time to move and kept the back alley clear to make the transition easier.

“I think we will bring a lot of business to this area,” Brown said. “I think there’ll be a lot more foot traffic because our business is probably 96 percent students.”

Zakari Tuttle, assistant manager at Josie’s Yogurt located next to the future housing complex said the tower is unnecessary.

“It’s another superstructure that we’re not going to use,” Tuttle said. “It’s going to end up sitting half empty.”

While he dislikes the view and noise he has to deal with during construction, Tuttle said he does believe the frozen yogurt shop will gain more business from the students who will be living a parking lot away from Josie’s, he said.

Campus Acquisitions, who will have a leasing office on University Boulevard, conducted interviews with hundreds of UA students which helped the developers decide what amenities would be included in the project. A rooftop deck will include a pool, hot tub and grills as well as outdoor yoga, Erin C. Kasper, Campus Acquisitions leasing and marketing director said in an email.

Level will also have a business center on its second floor where students can study individually or in groups, Kasper added.

The development is one of four private student-housing complexes currently under construction in central Tucson. Many of these projects are being built along the modern streetcar line or a short walking distance from it. Level will be a street away from the streetcar line and Campus Acquisitions is highly supportive of a transit-friendly lifestyle.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the city’s vision and goals for bringing a more transit-friendly lifestyle to residents,” Kasper added. “Level’s location gives students the option to go car-less – something unheard of until now.”

The Retreat, a housing community on Park Avenue and 22nd Street is currently under construction. Another housing option for students next fall will be the Junction, a smaller complex on Ninth Street and Third Avenue.

Plaza Centro will have two student-housing buildings in downtown by June 2013 as well. Capstone Development Partners and Jim Campbell, president of Oasis Tucson, have been working together to build a student-housing development called Cadence above 20 thousand square feet of retail east of the Rialto Theatre. An additional three stories of student housing will be built on top of the Parking Garage at Plaza Centro.

“Basically you want the retail to make money. You want the student housing to be full,” Campbell said. “And we want the city to be able to collect taxes.”

The $33 million project will begin to go vertical this week, Campbell added. Cadence will be open to students in time for the 2013-2014 school year with 465 beds and amenities such as a swimming pool and a theatre. Capstone Development Partners and Campbell reached an agreement with the city allowing them to hold 190 parking spaces in the garage for Cadence residents.

Cadence signed an affiliation contract with the UA allowing the housing complex to use the UA for advertising purposes. While the UA didn’t invest any money into the downtown project, they will add the housing complex to their list of available housing for students, according to Campbell.

“We will in essence be treated like we were an on-campus dorm,” Campbell said. “It’s more of a marketing agreement than anything else.”

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