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Continued: Luxury housing boom transforms student life at U of M

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 15, 2013 - 5:01 PM

Dave Menke, senior vice president and general manager with Opus, recognizes that such projects will bring change to the neighborhood, but he said market forces are strong. “A large number of colleges and universities are underserved in their housing stock,” he said.

The U is responding to those housing demands. MA Mortenson is nearing completion of the 17th Avenue Residence Hall, a $62 million facility being built by the U. It will have more than 300 units with 600 beds and will cater to freshmen and members of nearby fraternities and sororities.

‘All I’ve really ever known’

Students like Alex Johnson, are thrilled with apartment living. The architecture major at the College of Design lives in a two-bedroom, two-bath corner unit at Opus’ Stadium Village Flats.

His apartment has big windows and is less than a block from the heart of campus. He pays $644 per month and shares the space with three roommates. He knows that’s not cheap for a shared bedroom, but he appreciates the luxury.

“I just turned 20 years old a couple of days ago and live in a place with granite countertops, quality furniture and a view like none other,” he said. “I have to say that the reason I’ve grown to expect apartments to be so luxurious is because that’s all I’ve really ever known.”

This fall, Johnson will move to the Elysian, a 56-unit building on 4th Street SE. that’s being developed by CPM. He’ll share a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment with five roommates, but the top-floor apartment has more than 2,000 square feet, including a den and a 400-square-foot balcony. He’ll pay $680.

“Once you live in one of these properties, it’s hard to get out and learn to expect less,” Johnson said.

He’s not surprised that demand has been strong at the Elysian, which is fully leased for fall move-ins. Residents will have access to a tanning bed, a lounge with free coffee and a patio with a fireplace.

“I can’t tell if it’s a good thing or a bad thing,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell if these over-the-top luxurious units are creating monsters out of students or rather if they are instilling a drive in them to work hard so that one day when they get out of college they can own a place like these units rather than rent them.”


Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376


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