More Student Off-Campus Housing in the Works
Nathanael Enwald
Students will have new off-campus living options in the near future, close to the university and next to Division Street commerce.
The Stevens Point Plan Commission gave the permits needed to build new residential developments to Development Partners of Neenah, who have proposed to build a 29-unit housing complex on the old Cooper Motors site next to Ella’s Bar.
The building of the new student housing complex has been met with some resistance by Stevens Point and Plover landlords and rental owners.
They make the argument that filling up their rental units in this economy is hard enough as it is, but if this new apartment complex is green lit, that will further thin the student populace living off campus.
“That could be a completely valid concern, especially if living conditions are newer and if students would rather live in that apartment versus a house, but I don’t know if that would be anything unusual to date,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Al Thompson.
Thompson also said that it’s really a personal choice of the students. In his experience from all the universities he has worked for, there will always be students who prefer living on campus, away from campus, or near campus. He says that adding a new complex is not going to change that.
Occasionally, residential developers will team up with universities to build apartment complexes for student living and then lease the building to the campus to be put under their control.
Thompson also said that the developers have not contacted the university yet about working together on the project, although it is still very early to tell if they will or not.
With budgetary concerns high due to the lapses and cuts being passed by Scott Walker, the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point has toyed with the idea of increasing student enrollment, in which case the new residential building would be beneficial. No decisions have been made on the issue.
The first phase of the $4 million project would house about 100 students at full capacity.
Development Partners of Neenah have also stated that they plan to put in retail properties on the site as well, bringing more business to the Division Street area. Originally that was the first order of business but has been put second to the residential living.
The City of Stevens Point will be requiring the developer to make a $75,000 security deposit to ensure that they do build retail slots on the site if given the go ahead.
Paul Belschner, the LLC agent, commented that they have every intention of developing retail buildings so long as there are businesses to fill them.
According to Mayor Andrew Halverson, the project in its entirety is projected to bring nearly $11 million in investments into the city, along with roughly $13 million in tax income for the city.