COLUMBIA — Plans for a new student apartment complex near MU have been submitted to the city.
Collegiate Housing Partners, based in St. Louis, submitted plans last week to develop a six-story student housing building on 1.25 acres south of Conley Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.
There are currently six houses on the property, which are mainly rented to students during the year. The proposed building will contain a maximum of 112 units, most of which will have four bedrooms, according to the proposal.
The property is located across the street from Mark Twain Hall and about four blocks from downtown Columbia.
"(The proposal) promotes smart growth around downtown and campus," said Brandt Stiles, director of development for Collegiate Housing Partners. "We're definitely capitalizing on the fact that students want to live close to campus and downtown."
City Council member Karl Skala has an appointment Tuesday morning with Stiles to discuss the development. Skala said he hopes to find common ground in these types of meetings, which are common between developers and Columbia City Council members.
"To their credit, (the firm is) interested in touching base with City Council members," Skala said. "It's a reasonable way to proceed."
Collegiate Housing Partners, the same firm that filed a permit to demolish the Niedermeyer building and develop student housing in its place in December, requested a variance in the city's parking rules because the firm proposed only 115 parking spaces for the new development.
This is a significant variation from the city's required 300 spaces for a development of this size, said Development Services Manager Pat Zenner for the city.
The proposed parking ratio per unit is 1.027, the proposal stated.
"I can't tell you if (the proposal) will or won't meet the demand" for parking spaces, Zenner said. "For every bed you have in the facility, there's a possibility that the tenant will bring a vehicle."
However, Zenner said the Collegiate Housing Partners presented possible means of transportation for its future tenants. The firm could make the development a hub for a bike-share program or get involved with the FastCAT downtown bus route.
"We've got to look creatively at solving those problems," Zenner said.
Parking shortage is common with student housing near downtown, Zenner said, since most complexes do not offer parking.
"The issue of parking is the driving concern to this type of housing," Zenner said.
Zenner said the problem of downtown parking doesn't rest solely on student housing but is part of the overall housing scene.
Since the proposal to tear down the Niedermeyer building, four boards and commissions and two neighborhood associations have been working on a plan to revise the city's zoning code and rewrite the parking standard, Zenner said.
Expanding existing parking structures and building new ones are a part of the plan.
"I don't see downtown becoming any less desirable because of student housing," Zenner said. "But we have to deal with the challenges of that housing."
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