By Ashley Martin, Kirshana Guy and Vanessa Henderson/Arizona Sonora News
The construction of multiple modern, high-end apartment complexes right on the edge of campus has created controversy among UA students, faculty, local landlords and local business owners. While the modernization of housing options has meant monetary opportunity for some, for others it has created distress.
Since students transition from dorms to apartments when they enter their second year at the university, the desire for the independent, and even luxurious living experience that comes with apartments is in demand. Over the years, different apartment structures have been built within a two-mile radius of campus, but recently a number of 12-story apartment buildings has crowded parts of Park st., Speedway, and University Blvd.
Student housing options dispersed around the University of Arizona range from luxurious, high-rise apartments to 10-bedroom houses, and everything else in between.
Erika Robertson, a Tucson landlord who manages multiple rental homes under Affordable Home Realty, believes that the recent number of high-rise apartment complexes has both helped and hurt her business.
“Rentals have not necessarily decreased, in my opinion, but the fancy housing options offered to students right on campus have created some competition,” said Robertson.
Robertson manages 211 rentals under Affordable Homes Realty and believes the high-cost of living presented by the HUB, the Mark, and Urbane buildings has pushed some students to seek off campus housing.
“I believe investors take advantage of students with the price per bedroom rentals near the University,” Robertson said.
Realty management groups are not the only businesses being affected by the construction. A Potbelly general manager, Jessica, says the sandwich shop underneath Luna welcomes new luxury apartments and residents.
“We are really excited about the new apartments going up because it will drive the business,” said Jessica, who declined to give her last name.
In terms of the students, current apartment renters on campus are having to deal with all of the concerns that come with heavy construction. Questionable air quality, sleepless mornings, and headaches are just a few of the issues that residents at the HUB say they have been going through.
“Having to constantly listen to the horrible sounds of the construction has given me a chronic headache.” said Maddie Young, who has lived in the Hub since August 2018. “I can’t wait for it to finally end.”
Annie Murray, a HUB resident of two years, has also noticed some aspects of her life going downhill since the construction began.
“The construction always gets in the way when I’m walking to class. I have to take longer routes to avoid the blocked off sidewalks. Plus the dust from the construction site gets in my face and makes me cough,” said Murray.
The Environmental Pollution Center says that construction sites can cause “air, water, soil, and/or noise pollution” and that “poor air quality is the most immediate pollution effect you may experience from a construction site.”
Kacy Marx, who is living at the HUB, has struggled more with the loud noise around the construction site that happens almost every morning.
“The loud construction sometimes keeps us up in the early mornings — and it’s really irritating,” said Marx.
However, there are no records of noise complaints that have been made to the City of Tucson in regards to the construction sites near campus.
According to the University of Arizona Housing and Residential Life website, the total academic year rent for a dorm is approximately $6,200 per person and up. Price depends on the dorm.
There are also single-suite dorm options available, beginning at $11,500 rent for the total academic year, as the availability of these rooms within residence halls is limited.
However, some students prefer a little more privacy than they would get in a dorm, and turn to student apartments near campus.
Aspire Tucson is a new high-rise student apartment building, located just outside the campus at 950 North Tyndall Ave. Floor plans range from studios to six-bedroom townhouses and two-story penthouses.
The price for a 331-square-foot studio with one bathroom begins around $1,500.
District on 5th, at 550 North Fifth Ave., offers fully furnished two, three- and four-bedroom floor plans. The 713-square-f00t two-bedroom apartments start around $884 a person, but the price decreases as the number of bedrooms increases. Students could rent a four bedroom with 4 bathrooms for approximately $780 a person.
Sol y Luna, at 1020 North Tyndall Ave., is also offering furnished apartments located with floor plans from studios to four-bedroom units, priced per person. A regular studio at Sol y Luna begins around $1,475, while a penthouse studio is approximately $100 more. A four-bedroom unit is approximately $1,025 a person with two bathrooms, while a four-bedroom penthouse with four bathrooms is approximately $1,350.
Downtown Tucson Apartments has three apartment complexes in downtown Tucson with floor plans including studios, and one, two and three-bedroom options. These luxury apartments are more expensive than those closer to the university. A one-bedroom with one bathroom located at 1 East Broadway Blvd., is priced between $1,600 to just under $2,000 a person.