A student housing project that includes 38 duplexes and townhomes could replace the golf driving range on Oleander Drive, according to site plans submitted to the city of Wilmington.
The project, under development by Capstone Collegiate Communities, would add 600 beds to the area’s student housing market in a community called The Cottages of Wilmington. The multi-family project would be built on nearly 15 acres at 5026 Oleander Drive, site plans by Norris & Tunstall Consulting Engineers
Mike Baker, executive vice president of development for Capstone Collegiate Communities, said while it's still very early in the planning stages for the project, the company thinks highly of the Wilmington market, and has been told that UNCW chancellor Jose Sartarelli is working to grow the school's enrollment.
The site plans were posted to the city’s project tracking website a few days before the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s official move-in, which takes place Saturday. The property, currently home to Oleander Golf Center, is less than two miles from UNCW, where university officials say more than 15,000 students will attend classes when school starts this month.
"I think he’d like to grow that [enrollment figure] even bigger so we’re looking take advantage of that," Baker said Friday, referring to Sartarelli.
In North Carolina, Capstone Collegiate Communities opened The Cottages of Boone in Boone in 2013 and Valentine Commons in Raleigh in 2012, according to the company's website. Baker said The Cottages of Wilmington would be smaller but similar to the Boone community and also The Cottages of Tempe in Tempe, Arizona.
Also known as “C3," the Birmingham, Alabama-based firm specializes in the development, construction and management "of high-quality, off-campus student housing developments in close proximity to major colleges and universities across the country," the company's website says.
In addition to duplexes and townhomes, The Cottages of Wilmington would also include a nearly 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, site plans show. The city's Technical Review Committee is expected to consider the site plans at a meeting Aug. 18, according to Wilmington's project tracking website.
The plans for The Cottages of Wilmington also show one 1,750-square-foot and three 360-square-foot commercial buildings near the entrance to the community on Oleander Drive. Those spaces could be home to restaurants, small eateries or other commercial tenants that would serve both the apartment residents and wider communiy, Baker said.
The land is currently owned by The Oleander Company Inc. and zoned CB, or commercial business. The proposed zoning, the site plans say, would be O&I-1 (office & industrial) with a CDMU (commercial district mixed use) component.
“Cohesive Design and Exceptional Design criteria will be used in development,” the plans say.
Student housing has been on the minds of parents, Realtors and apartment developers in the months leading up to the start of the fall semester for UNCW, Cape Fear Community College and other higher educational institutions in the Wilmington area.
Between 2013 and 2015, developers built seven apartment communities designated as student housing, and most of those maintained an occupancy rate of more than 95 percent last year, some at 100 percent most of the year, said Richard Cotton, managing director of Multifamily Realty Advisors and a commercial real estate broker who specializes in the sale of apartment projects and apartment development sites.
To read more about student housing trends in the region, pick up a copy of the Aug. 12 edition of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.