Chicago firm eying UNCW area for new student housing development
July 5, 2012By J. Elias O'Neal
A nationally known student housing developer has its sights set on property near the UNCW campus.
Chicago-based Core Campus LLC is under contract to possibly purchase 6.6 acres where the University Arms Apartments currently sit to build The Hub at UNCW.
The property is at the intersection of Pepys Lane and Randall Parkway.
Phil Norris, principal engineer with Wilmington-based Norris & Tunstall Consulting Engineers, said Thursday the developer would purchase the property from Pepys One LLC, a single member entity of the UNCW Corporation – a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the education, research and public missions of the university.
Norris, who is the project’s engineer, said that Core Campus is proposing to demolish the nearly 40-year-old structure and replace it with a four-story, 124-unit development targeting student renters.
Other amenities would include a pool, study rooms, a basketball and volleyball court and an activity center. There would also be limited commercial space to lease to retailers, Norris said.
Core Campus officials recently completed a similar development in Tempe, Ariz. near the Arizona State University campus with plans to open this fall.
While plans remain preliminary, site work could begin on the Wilmington project this fall, with the first students occupying the two and three-bedroom units by the fall 2013 school year.
Steve Pickard, UNCW director of real estate management, said the university was “100 percent” behind the proposed project. He said once the complex opens, university officials plan to provide bus shuttle service and various training for its staff. The UNCW Police Department would also patrol the property.
Pickard said while the university would not manage the property, fostering cooperation with student-centered housing developers is important since on-campus housing has become a precious commodity for incoming students.
“We turned away 150 freshmen students and 200 transfer students looking for on campus housing for the upcoming school year because we didn’t have anything available,” Pickard said. “The existing housing we have on campus is 100 percent occupied, and the existing housing off campus is aging . . . this development, we feel, is going to help with that problem.”
The Hub at UNCW is one of three student-centered housing developments being proposed, or is under construction, within the UNCW vicinity.
Adam Sosne – a local developer who specializes in multi-family student housing, apartment management and some single-family home development – continues to press forward with plans for a 104-unit development near the intersection of Greenway Avenue and Lullwater Drive.
Called Camden Forest, plans call for the development one 48-unit garden style apartment building, and 56 townhomes — bringing a total of 264 bedrooms for future students. The site will also include fully furnished bedrooms, a clubhouse, pool and park space. Rent would also include water, sewer, trash, cable with HBO, high speed wireless Internet and electricity.
Construction also continues on Roanoke, Va.-based University Housing Group’s $28 million Carolina Cove apartment complex along Randall Parkway.
Plans include 84 two-bedroom units and 144 three-bedroom units, covered porches, fully equipped kitchens, laundry areas, cable TV access, a business center, pool, clubhouse and broadband Internet access. Each bedroom will also feature a full bath and walk-in closet.