Student Housing: More Stadium Village apartments planned

By Jennifer Bissell for Minnesota Daily

Construction for a new apartment complex in Stadium Village on the University of Minnesota campus will began February with the demolition of two buildings, including Harvard Market, on Washington Avenue Southeast. The development will open in August 2012 — two years later than originally planned.

Stadium Village Flats will be a six-story building with 120 units and retail space on the ground floor. Opus Development Corp., the company managing the construction, closed a deal to buy the land Tuesday.

The price of rent has not been announced but will be “competitive” with other new complexes on campus, said Dave Menke, the project’s manager.

“We’ve been pursuing the development for over three years,” Menke said. “We’ve really been committed to it and obviously continue to feel very, very bullish.”

The developers wanted to begin construction much earlier but delayed it because of the slow market and restructuring of the business.

Originally, the building was going to have twice as many units, be eight to 10 stories high and knock out more buildings, including the Oak Street Cinema. News of the apartments is what prompted Campus Pizza to move across the street last year.

Besides the building that houses Harvard Market, the retail building next door with a fortune-telling business will also be demolished.

“[The businesses] worked very cooperatively with us over those three years,” Menke said. “It was a long time to be, I’ll say, hangin’ in with us to the finish line.”

A CVS Pharmacy will replace Harvard Market, which has had a presence on the University campus for more than 100 years.

Jeff Gettler, a student at the University who has worked at Harvard Market for two years, said the market would be leaving in late January.

Harvard Market’s owner for 15 years, Brad Mateer, was unavailable for comment.

“Urban renewal is kind of hard to fight against when there’s a need for it,” Gettler said of the corporate CVS replacing independent Harvard Market.

“I feel like a lot of things in the area could use some updating, like this building,” he said. “I like the small ma and pa type, but I think [CVS] is much better for the area.”

With no grocery stores in the area, CVS will likely be able to provide a greater selection, Gettler added.

Even with the recent increase of luxury apartments like Sydney Hall, Dinkydome Lofts and similar projects on the way like 412 Lofts, FloCo Fusion and Solhaus, Menke said the demographics of the University’s student body still show a “high demand for quality housing.”

John Worden, director of facilities, transit and housing for the Minnesota Student Association, said that while he’d like to see more affordable housing for students, he recognizes the recent increase in luxury apartments could be a good thing.

“If the market can sustain it and students choose those properties, it opens up options for students that have no options,” Worden said, suggesting that as students move into these more expensive units, cheaper units will become more available.

Worden also noted that the increase in housing could improve housing on campus as a whole.

“More competition in housing forces landlords who would otherwise not improve their properties to improve them to stay competitive,” he said.


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