Off campus student housing might be ready this fall

Regina Kaza

University Park will include a resort-style pool, gated entrance, gym, and study lounges a mile from the Boca campus. Rendering courtesy of Michael Marshall at Siemon & Larsen.

Next year, students will be able to live in new, off-campus housing, but FAU thinks it isn’t necessary.

The project, called University Park, is set to open in 2013, but it might be ready even earlier than that. The Boca City Council approved a $35 million student housing project on Jan. 24 and FAU opposed the proposal. The proposed location is at 135 NW 20th St., between 20th St. and N Dixie Hwy, according to FAU architect and vice president of facilities, Tom Donaudy. University Park will be built a mile from the Boca campus, and is set to open around the same time as FAU’s 600-bedroom on-campus dorms. The off campus project will have four floors, resort style amenities, fully furnished private rooms, and a 24-hour staff for students.

“We don’t have that high of a need for it right now,” Donaudy said about off-campus housing. “What they’re proposing to build is very similar to what we’re building.”

During a Board of Trustees meeting last December, a 600-bedroom dorm was proposed on the south side of campus and the building should be up and running by 2013. University Park was approved a month later by the city council with a vote of 4-1.

“These students are going to live someplace; when [on-campus housing] fills up,” Boca Mayor Susan Whelchel, told the Sun-Sentinel. “Sooner or later we’ll have to build student housing.”

Originally proposed in October 2010, as a 731-bedroom facility, the project’s developer, Addison LLC, had to lower the amount of bedrooms to 600 before getting approval to build on land that was originally reserved for businesses. Addison LLC also built the Addison Park apartments on 20th street.

FAU was against both the proposed project, and the zoning ordinance, which changed the business property to a residential lot. “On this particular issue we didn’t have complete alignment with the city council and how they voted,” Donaudy said.

Michael Marshall, a land use attorney who represents Addison LLC, describes the complex as a gated community with 24-hour security. You’ll also need a key card to get inside each apartment building and suite. The complex will have furnished bedrooms and bathrooms and laundry appliances. Students will be able to choose from two, three or four bedroom and bathroom floor plans, with each private space being around 190 to 200 square feet.

You’ll need a key card to get into the rooms, which come with furniture and laundry appliances included. Rendering courtesy of Michael Marshall at Siemon & Larsen.

Students’ lease will include their rent, and utilities such as water and electricity. The development will include a resort style pool, work out rooms, game rooms, lounge areas, study rooms and a convenience store for residents. “Maybe have some sort of little cafe to serve the local population,” Marshall said. “Also a shop for day to day items like toiletries, soft drinks, some of the things you would see in a store in the resort.

Each resident will have their own parking space and temporary loading spaces, but no additional guest parking will be available, according to Marshall. “It isn’t a place where you want to have a lot of non-residents,” he said. “If you provide a lot of guest parking you get a lot of guests.”

He doesn’t expect parking to be a problem like it is on campus. “That experience of looking for a place on campus, you won’t have that problem here,” Marshall said. There will be 100-115 spaces for bicycles, and students can walk to campus from the apartments or take a shuttle. “We have a proposed route that we presented to the city that provides stops at FAU and PBSC,” Marshall said.

University Park is set to open in 2013, but Marshall is hopeful it’ll be open sooner. “I know the client would like to be leasing for the fall semester 2012,” he said. “It’s a little ambitious but right now we’re shooting for that. It depends on how quickly construction goes, I can’t guarantee it but that’s the goal.”