/New $20 Million Student Housing Project Taking Shape
Rendering of the new housing development being built next to SUNY Oswego. The project, Lakeside Commons, will feature 84 townhouses and 320 beds within 11 buildings. Model unit will be ready mid-September. Occupancy by students will be in August 2018.

New $20 Million Student Housing Project Taking Shape

Massive housing project just 500 feet west of SUNY Oswego will feature 84 townhouses and 320 beds within 11 buildings. Model unit to be ready mid-September

By Lou Sorendo

When one thinks of student housing, it’s easy to reflect back on the 1978 classic comedy, National Lampoon’s “Animal House.”

There, members of the famed Zeta Beta Tau fraternity did not prioritize living in a chaos-free environment.

Today’s student housing options, however, are anything but hilarious.

Lakeside Commons is a new student-housing complex being constructed adjacent to the SUNY Oswego campus. It is located about 500 feet west of the college’s main entrance on state Route 104 West.

The Newman Development Group of Vestal and Morgan Communities of Rochester jointly own the $20 million project.

NDG’s own student housing management group — NDG Student Living — will manage Lakeside Commons.

Managed student housing properties are becoming immensely popular across the nation, and are slowly emerging in the Northeast as well.

Jerry Wojenski, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NDG’s Student Living, will oversee the leasing and management of the property.

He said student housing has blossomed into one of the fastest growing industries in the apartment rental sector.

“The industry used to be kind of obscure back in the early 2000s. Not many people or investors knew about it,” he said.

“When someone had the idea to build student apartments and went to a lender, the bank would come back and ask, ‘Have you seen “Animal House”?’ There’s what kind of stereotype has been associated with it.”

However, over time, student-housing operators such as NDG have proven to bankers and investors that student housing is an excellent investment.

“Students do not tear up their apartments and keep them up, sometimes better than adults do in traditional, conventional apartments,” Wojenski said.

Rent at Lakeside Commons will range from about $825 to $875 depending on the floor plan. Student will be charge per bed and will not be responsible for his or her roommate’s rent

The 144,000 square-foot complex will feature 84 townhouses and 320 beds within 11 buildings.

Floor plan types include four bedrooms-four baths, two bedrooms-two baths and six bedroom-six baths. There will also be a 9,000 square-foot two-story clubhouse.

The clubhouse will include a fitness center, a common area with a fireplace, computer lounge, study rooms, game room, management offices and an outdoor fire pit. It opens in mid-September and will include the management/leasing office, clubhouse amenities and a model unit.

Construction will be complete in June of 2018 and first occupancy by students will be in August of 2018, according to Jeffrey Smetana, vice president of NDG.

Smetana said the project fills a significant need in the market for quality, off-campus student housing and complements the college’s efforts to continue its advances in academic competiveness and enrollment growth.

“The college is elevating its academic standing every year. Each class is more competitive than the previous one, and they are drawing more kids from the New York metro area,” Wojenski said. “They are focusing on their STEM facilities and getting more math and science students. These are the type of students who really want to live close to campus. We give them the benefit of being off campus, but still right there very close by.”

Units on the 7.4-acre parcel are available to any full-time college student, Smetana said.

Purcell Construction, based in Watertown, is in charge of construction.

NBT Bank and the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency provided financial assistance for the project that is expected to create eight jobs.

Just like home

Wojenski said the SUNY Oswego market hasn’t seen what will be a true purpose-built housing endeavor.

“It’s designed for students from the ground up,” Wojenski said. “Everything from common area spaces to living room units will be designed around a person who is attending a four-year university.”

For example, its clubhouse has amenities that one may find in market-rate apartment complexes in other cities, but “it’s geared more to a younger generation, or ‘Generation Z’ that is going to college now,” Wojenski said.

Generation Z is the demographic cohort after the Generation X. Birth years range from the mid-1900s to the mid-2000s.

A large study area with private conference rooms for students will be featured. Computers and free printing will be available, as well as smart and white boards for students to do group work and individual studies.

There is bed-to-bath parity, meaning students do not have to share bathroom facilities. They also have plenty of space to study inside their rooms, Wojenski noted.

“We provide them with all furniture, so they don’t have to go and buy furniture or pull a couch down an alleyway to their house. All that is provided for them as well as utilities. It is all-inclusive living,” he added.

“You come in and pay a single price, and we basically provide you with the tools and accommodations you need to succeed in college,” Wojenski said.

Prices vary depending on what floor plan is chosen. “We charge per bed, which is also unique to student housing because you are not responsible for your roommate’s rent. You are only responsible for your own,” he added.

Each student has his or her own lease and lease liability.

Rent ranges from about $825 to $875 depending on the floor plan, and the package includes internet and cable.

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