High-end apartments sprout up on campus

A construction crane hovers over the site of the new apartment building at 309 E. Green St. Thursday evening. Susan Kantor

A construction crane hovers over the site of the new apartment building at 309 E. Green St. Thursday evening. Susan Kantor

By Meghan Montemurro

Students willing to shell out the big dough for high-end apartments will soon have the opportunity to do so.

With the expected completion of Roland Realty’s 309 E. Green St. apartments by the start of the fall semester as well as JSM’s Gregory Place East apartments, University students will have more options when searching for future apartments. 309 E. Green St. apartment’s 24-floor complex is comprised of 17 floors of residential living containing 110 apartments which includes an open air swimming pool, fitness center and cafe lounge on the eighth floor.

However, it won’t be cheap.

To rent a two or four-bedroom apartment, each student would pay approximately $775 per month with extended basic cable and broadband Internet included in the monthly rent. But it appears the price hasn’t scared away students. A Roland employee that answered the phone at the realtor’s Green Street office said all units have been rented for the next leasing period.

Roland Realty Green Street office manager Steve Hertel has already seen the impact of the 309 E. Green St. apartments on other Champaign realty companies.

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“From what I’ve seen in (classifieds), many companies are advertising three, four-bedroom units that usually wouldn’t be available this time of the year,” Hertel said. “So clearly there is an impact. How much I’m not sure.”

Chris Hamelberg, general manager of University Group, echoed Hertel’s sentiments.

“We have noticed that our threes and fours have rented a little slower,” Hamelberg said of University Group’s apartments. “It’s definitely a renter’s market.”

Hamelberg noted that he is interested in watching how the market plays out.

“The only thing I’m confused about is that it’s a high-end market,” said Hamelberg, referring to the more expensive 309 E. Green St. apartments. “I think the high end market will get tested quickly. We are going to notice real quickly.”

Miriam Booth, managing broker of Bankier Apartments, isn’t surprised by the success of the more pricey apartments and believes some students are looking for different or more specific things when apartment hunting.

“Students have different needs,” Booth said. “The newer ones meet some of those needs.”

Hertel said the early apartment signing period is linked to University students.

“There is still that fear that their locations will not be there,” Hertel said of the early apartment signing period, which is typically in October.

Regardless of the newly constructed apartments, there has still been a fair share of apartment renewals for realty companies. There are certain factors, however, that cannot be controlled or taken into consideration when examining renewals, which can include the graduation of seniors as well as roommates choosing to find different apartments due to not getting along, Hertel said.

The numbers tend to fluctuate year to year, but Hamelberg said University Group has seen “steady” renewal rates at 25 to 35 percent.

The question of long term impact still remains. Some involved in the realty business such as Booth consider University enrollment to be the key to the future in realty success. Hamelberg expressed the same train of thought.

“The market has always been driven by the students,” he said. “Over the last decade I’ve noticed that the market keeps moving up earlier.”