From Student Housing Business Journal, November/December 2013
I had the recent pleasure of attending the Interface On-Campus Student Housing Conference in Orlando. The dialogues that took place between developers, institutions and architects were rich with ideas.
One of the ideas that was batted around was ‘amenitizing’ vs. ‘academinizing’ (hard word to pronounce, I know). I wish I had come up with the word but I have to give credit to Tresea Buckhaults, director of residential life and housing at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
As I have previously written (Think Beyond the Walls of an Apartment), I am concerned with the ever increasing movement by some developers to provide the latest and greatest amenities. In the off-campus market there is value in differentiating a property from others in the area, but those amenities can have a negative impact on student success and behavior raising concerns by the college, university, residents and their parents. Additionally as competition in the off-campus market escalates, rents have to stay flat or decrease, could those the amenities actually be a detriment to the bottom line? Without a high level of amenities, would the rent have started at a price point that would attract the more academically focused that would most likely have a higher retention rate both to the institution and to the property?