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Developer says student apartments a good fit for city, MU

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | 8:22 p.m. CDT; updated 11:14 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

COLUMBIA — The proposed student apartment complex across the street from Mark Twain residence hall would be a good fit for MU and Columbia because of its location, the project's developers told city officials Tuesday.

Brandt Stiles, the director of development for Collegiate Housing Partners, said the complex, given a tentative completion date of August 2015, would fit the university's plan to develop west campus while avoiding some of the pitfalls of downtown development.

"One of the big issues people talked to us about was that they didn't want student housing in the downtown business district," Stiles said during a public information meeting Tuesday at Daniel Boone City Building. "This (complex) is adjacent to the MU campus, but it isn't quite downtown. We don't feel like there is a better location available."

The complex would be situated south of Conley Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets.


View Proposed student apartments in a larger map

City of Columbia Development Services Manager Pat Zenner said the complex would be one of the densest residential developments in Columbia, as the six-story building will be able to house 351 students on 1.25 acres.

Developers also addressed the impact of added cars on the roads.

Plans for the complex, submitted April 29, call for 120 parking spaces for cars and additional space for bike parking, far short of the 300 spaces the city normally requires for a development of this size. The Planning and Zoning Commission will address the discrepancy at its June 6 meeting, when it will vote whether to recommend the development to the City Council.

The parking spaces would be housed in the complex's first floor, with the apartments occupying the remaining five floors, according to Stiles.

Stiles said he would work to support the city's FastCAT bus system to transport students. Stiles also said he wanted to work with the MU to allow residents to utilize the university's Bike Share program and its WeCar program.

"We want to make people realize that we can offer smart alternatives to bringing a car," Stiles said.

The developers revealed a digital rendering of the property. It had a red brick and white stone facade, similar to the Brookside complexes downtown.

Timothy VanMatre, the developer's director of operations, said he expected students to be able to move into the 351-bed complex on August 1, 2015. 

"The cost will be similar to other complexes in the downtown area," he said.

Rent at Brookside Downtown ranges from $650 to $1,000 a month per person.


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Comments

Bill Weitkemper May 15, 2013 | 5:54 a.m.

NO

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 7:51 a.m.

YES, get the kids living downtown instead of urban sprawl like we saw on the South Side of town. It is more efficient on transportation, police, and infrastructure. We will have less drunk kids driving half way across town to get to the downtown bars.

Concerning the parking; if we continue to mandate that there be a parking spot for every bed we will continue to foster and incentivize a situation where ever student has a car. We have to create a situation where it is too expensive both financially and logistically for the average student to use a car in Columbia. Free up the roads for the locals who pay for them and get the kids on the buses and on their bikes.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2013 | 11:03 a.m.

"We have to create a situation where it is too expensive both financially and logistically for the average student to use a car in Columbia. Free up the roads for the locals who pay for them and get the kids on the buses and on their bikes."
_____________________

In parts:

"to create a situation": I guess I'm having difficulty with the social engineering (behavior modification) implications of this. Is this what we want gov't to do to students? Or you? Or me?

"to use a car in Columbia": There's lots of places in Columbia and surrounding areas to do and see and, if the student wants to buy something a bit bulky, it gets tough to do so on a cycle or bus. Do we have the right to deliberately limit a student's mobility? They might even wish to go home for a weekend/holiday, and that may be 100+ miles away with no bus/train service.

"Free up the roads for the locals who pay for them": Do only locals pay for all our roads? What about state roads? What about I-70? Where does the money for roads come from, anyway?

This sounds quite condescending and the whole paragraph implies students (all over 18 y/o and legally adults, btw) should keep their noses to the study-grindstone and be seen in public only in bars/restaurants within 500 yards of campus.

I guess I'm not with you on the implications of all this. It's almost as though you want their presence during the school year, you want their money, you want the jobs they create by their presence, you want the state money that comes from a local university.......but otherwise they are simply "guests" and their freedom of movement must be limited. But, I don't think they become second-class citizens just because we say so.

PS: IMO, a person without a car leads a pretty solitary and boring life within a very limited radius of home base. This nation is farrrrr too big....To many places to go and too many things to do. Even Ken Midkiff goes to Utah, south Missouri, Cedar Creek, and Rudolf Bennett, and I'm pretty confident he doesn't get to those places by cycling.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 11:41 a.m.

Michael,

Either way you are creating a situation. Mandate parking and you create a situation that induces cars; don't mandate and you don't. Capitalism is driven by incentives; it is a simple basic premise of our economic system that cannot be avoided. At the least mine is the one with the lowest government regulation and limits the government interfering with private development (two things you routinely say you support).

As far as paying goes, right now we do not have a equitable system where cost are being shared. So yes I stick by the statement that they are not paying for locally funded roads, nor are they paying for infrastructure improvements. This is mainly do to the fact that developers do not pay near the actual cost of infrastructure needed for their developments so they can not pass on that cost through rent. Local private property owners and utility users pick up the difference. It is not the best situation but it is our situation so we have to be realistic about when evaluating how to move forward.

"I guess I'm not with you on the implications of all this. It's almost as though you want their presence during the school year, you want their money, you want the jobs they create by their presence, you want the state money that comes from a local university.......but otherwise they are simply "guests" and their freedom of movement must be limited. But, I don't think they become second-class citizens just because we say so."

This is a bit ridiculous to be honest. Advocating a more efficient and equitable solution does not equate to using the students. It makes sense for the students to be downtown, near campus, near the bars they frequent etc. It makes sense for locals with families to live surrounding downtown where there is more room, near schools etc.

"IMO, a person without a car leads a pretty solitary and boring life within a very limited radius of home base."

This is simply absurd and I'm sure there will be plenty of car-free or car-lite people out here to tell you so.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 11:45 a.m.

Mike,

To sum it up better:

The free market is showing us that students want to live downtown; otherwise private firms would not be developing.

The need for parking is obviously not that important to students or else the developers would make sure to include it to maximize their products potential and ROI.

By mandating parking (and other types of intrusion that have been suggested lately by the Hoppe, Skala type crowd)we are circumventing basic free market principles and creating a situation that defies economic incentives and successful civic growth patterns.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 15, 2013 | 12:11 p.m.

Jack Hamm wrote:

"The need for parking is obviously not that important to students or else the developers would make sure to include it to maximize their products potential and ROI."

No, they figure that a lot of students won't think about it beforehand. This is how we get the current mess in the North Central area. It's a classic case of developers not paying the full cost of their developments, in fact. Other people in the surrounding areas near Brookside are paying the price of developers not being made to provide adequate parking.

The Short Street garage will ease the situation considerably, but who's paying for that? Not the Odles.

Cars are, unfortunately, the single most important possession to very many people, including students. Every student that can afford to live in a $1000/month room will have a car. Developers need to provide sufficient parking or they should not be allowed to develop in an area.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 12:19 p.m.

"No, they figure that a lot of students won't think about it beforehand. This is how we get the current mess in the North Central area."

I own property in the north central neighborhood and I can tell you first hand that entire situation was blown out of proportion. A few disproportionally loud people started complaining before they even had a chance to build their garage. Pat Fowler and that kid from the Urban Ag place were bent out of shape because they did not get the $1 million they wanted from the Odles so they made a big stink out of a short term issue. Drive down St Joseph, St James, or Hubble anytime now and you will see a mostly empty street.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2013 | 12:23 p.m.

Jack:

(1) That's why I wrote IMO. It's my opinion, but not a truth for everyone. Personally, I hate living in cities and will no longer do so. Yes, I will visit and spend money, but I will not live there. I like to travel and I will not easily give up my ability to go and do whatever I wish whenever I want and as far as I want to go. I'd be bored to death in a city with a house surrounded by grass and a neighbor only 25' away...or less. Yes, I am aware many folks feel otherwise but such a life is definitely not for me.

I've lived in/near Columbia for 41 years but the truth is that I no longer care what Columbians do within their city so long as they keep their city borders to themselves. It is only my longevity hereabouts that compels me to post here, as though I still have some stake in the matter. Perhaps I don't.

(2) Anyone limiting my freedom of movement will have a fight on their hands. In fact, I'm kinda gratified that students, who tend liberal, still like their personal freedom of movement. Gives me hope that the genetics of their ancestors, who often lived their whole lives within 1 day of walking/riding...or within the confines of two mountain ranges...are still intact and active. But, no matter how you cut it, your plans for behavior modification are a deliberate effort to limit a freedom of movement.

(3) 'Tis true, students are not paying much for roads. But, since they are young and generally not making money, they don't pay much for anything. Nor should they. Your kids aren't even paying for their upbringing...is that fair and equitable to the rest of us?

As for developers paying their fair share, I'm of the opinion that folks in Columbia's neighborhoods older than 25 y/o should pay a tax equivalent to what is being asked for current new development infrastructure; after all, at one time their developments were brand new, built on farmland, and someone had to cover the roads. Why do they get a pass because they got here first? Isn't it a truth that the reason folks do not want to pay for outlying roads is because they won't use them? Because they have reverted to living the bulk of their lives within a mile-or-so of their abode?

Reverse evolution......

PS: It's a flintknapping-with-friends day. I'll check back much later and may even get locked out if I tarry too long.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.

Jack: "Pat Fowler and that kid from the Urban Ag place were bent out of shape because they did not get the $1 million they wanted from the Odles"
_______________

I did not follow this very close, but wasn't Hoppe involved in that?

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 12:39 p.m.

"But, no matter how you cut it, your plans for behavior modification are a deliberate effort to limit a freedom of movement."

This is something that needs to be clarified. I am advocating that we do not mandate parking; ie let the free market work it out. You are advocating that the government step in with a mandate for parking. YOU are on the side of behavior modification through government intrusion in the private sector not me.

Many of the older private homes in the central city did pay their own infrastructure cost completely. Many of the properties I own in the area connect to private sewer mains because there was no water and light department when they were constructed. The developer took on 100% of the cost then. Developers now are not taking on nearly any of the cost.

"'Tis true, students are not paying much for roads. But, since they are young and generally not making money, they don't pay much for anything. Nor should they. Your kids aren't even paying for their upbringing...is that fair and equitable to the rest of us?"

Could not agree more but that does not mean we should make stupid or inefficient decisions. If there is a more efficient route (like students living in the central city) then lets take that route.

As far as the car and freedom and other commercial taglines baby boomers were fed by Detroit automakers as children you need to step back and realize that the next generation might not agree with you. Many younger members of our society look at a car as shackles not as freedom. The average American spends over $9k per year on a car according to AAA in a country where the median income is barely above $30k pre-tax. That is financial indentured servitude.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 12:53 p.m.

"I did not follow this very close, but wasn't Hoppe involved in that?"

Isn't she always involved in those kind of things ;)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 15, 2013 | 1:06 p.m.

Jack: Headed out door but saw your post.

I'm hoping you are correct about the young generation's non-love of cars. It will keep them close to home.

It will make things soooo much easier for me in my travels to national monuments, state parks, rivers, forests, beaches, vistas, outlying restaurants like Claysville and Emmitts, mountains, the railroad in Durango, the prairies in Montana, Canada fishing, deserts, Big Bend, and the like.

Easier for my kids and grandkids, too. They like to see more than what is in the small radius around their homes.

Later.......

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 15, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.

Mike,

You don't have to own a car to do all of those things. I like to travel often myself. Just because I travel to South America or Europe does not mean I should own a plane or use a plane for day-to-day transportation; it is no different with a car. I flew to the pacific northwest two weeks ago and loved seeing the coast, mountains, and gorgeous country side; all of it just a cheap rental car away.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 15, 2013 | 1:25 p.m.

First - and this seems to have become a habit - I agree with Mark Foecking that ANY high density housing (student or other) should require that developers provide for adequate off-street parking facilities as part of their project; otherwise, no sale. (Has everyone taken leave of their senses?)

The rest of what I have to say is fully intended to be sarcastic.

Let's turn downtown into a collection of high rise parking garages (there's already been a good start). We can financially "soak" students for space rental in the garages; back that up with towing and heavy fines if we catch them parking overnight on downtown streets.

We will secure the land for additional parking garages by forcing many businesses now downtown out into the neighborhoods where other businesses are now located.
A number of fast food businesses, bars and such, will remain downtown to serve student needs. This should assist in keeping the students WHERE THEY BELONG!

However, we must scrupulously refrain from any reference to the revised downtown area as being a "ghetto."

If the students, as students sometimes do, complain about the way they're received, we will steadfastly ignore them, because neither they or the money they bring with them form any significant part of Columbia's economy. :)

Students wishing to keep their noses to the grindstone are welcome matriculate at another UM "System" campus, which will be happy to have them.

When one industry dominates any community it's difficult to dance around that situation. For example, if a city is built around a steel mill, it tends to look like it has been built (and not just in the United States) around a steel mill, even if the steel mill is modern and relatively clean, and there are some nice residential neighborhoods. If a city is built around a university and colleges...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking May 15, 2013 | 2:06 p.m.

Jack Hamm wrote:

"I own property in the north central neighborhood and I can tell you first hand that entire situation was blown out of proportion."

Blown out of proportion or not, it was bad enough that a parking pass system was implemented and the Odles set up a parking lot where Smith(?) Hall used to be. And it's not getting better - there are hundreds of units under construction other places downtown that will only add to the problem.

My point is, Americans love their cars like life itself. They'll wreck their credit to keep a car. They'll choose the car over most other expenses in their lives. The cost of gasoline is the most important economic indicator to most Americans. It's unreasonable, at this time, to expect a well-off student to store his car somewhere and not use it except occasionally.

I don't see that young people are any less enamored of their cars than my generation. I'm the only person in a building with 20-odd grad students that bicycles, even a little. The difference in traffic between this week and next week will be like night and day. How many more cars can downtown and MU absorb, because they will have to, as long as developers get to foist their tenants cars on the neighboring area, without planning?

Ellis Smith wrote:

"If a city is built around a university and colleges..."

I often say to people who feel there needs to be more professionals downtown is "Where?" No professionals are going to want to raise kids and live across from Harpo's, or the Blue Note. It's a college town, and caters to the main demographic near downtown. It's very difficult to make something that it doesn't want to be.

DK

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble May 15, 2013 | 2:22 p.m.

Things like this and the Lofts development on S. 9th are better trends than what else we've been seeing of late.

Sadly, the worst blight has already happened with the ridiculously omni-present Brookside buildings. The percentage of prime downtown real estate now wiped out for a generation by cheaply-built dorm-style buildings that a) won't last, due to the cheap construction - no steel, just cheap wood on four-story buildings that size?, and b) can't be repurposed due to the dorm-style layouts is terrible.

I hope we're in a place now where everyone realizes that what the town wants is good, well-built, multi-purpose, well-placed development, not just no development. I have friends who live near downtown who despise the Brookside buildings, feel personally insulted by their cheapness, but who walk by the Lofts building and admire it and think it's great - for the quality of its construction, its logical location, its visual design, and its multi-use nature. It's what it should be, and where it should be, and it seems that it's being done the right way.

The development community in this town could flourish in such a more positive way if they'd just do better and more responsive work, if they'd work with instead of just taking from. They could be applauded and welcomed, instead of pilloried. It's a huge missed opportunity, and the whole city is suffering for it.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 15, 2013 | 3:02 p.m.

I have two granddaughters: one is a graduating senior (this coming Sunday) at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (population less than 9,000); my younger granddaughter is completing her freshman year at a technical institute located in the Chicago Loop.

Care to guess which one has a car and which rides the "elevated" to classes? There's a super abundance of parking for the older granddaughter, both on and off campus. In the Chicago Loop? Well, if you should visit her (she lives, with some other girls, in a downtown hotel that's been converted into dorms) and you stay at one of the downtown hotels it will cost you $50 a night on top of your hotel nightly charge just to park your car, and, belive me, you wouldn't want to park your car on the street, even if it were legal to do that.

The Loop has lost its charm for granddaughter: she hopes next school year to share an apartment in Oak Park (famous for Frank Lloyd Wright). Will she then have a car? No, because of the high cost of parking in the Loop during the day; there's public transportation from Oak Park to the Loop.

There are a surprising number of universities and special schools in and around downtown Chicago, and conversions of old hotels and office buildings into dorms seems to be one way of addressing the student housing situation. Dorm charges reflect the scarcity of dorms.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 16, 2013 | 11:58 a.m.

@ Mark Foecking:

It has often occurred to me that in at one respect Columbia, Missouri, like Iowa City, Iowa and a number of other communities relying heavily on education and health care are to be envied: there's not much chance either will suffer in the near term from "industry downsizing."

In several respects the locations are similar: a large university campus, significant hospitals and clinics (no veterinary hospital facilities at University of Iowa - they're at Iowa State University - but University of Iowa does have a school of dentistry, whereas that school in UM System is at UMKC). Both cities have a VA hospital. Both campuses on one side butt up against downtown, which I'd say looks better in Iowa City. The Iowa campus is split in half by a river; last time I checked the MU campus was not. :)

Compared to Iowa City, traffic congestion in Columbia is minor. (Would you believe that? You would if you spent time in Iowa City.) And you only THINK it's a traffic zoo in Columbia when there is a home football game. The Hawkeyes sell out all home games, even when the team isn't good. (What else is there to do in Iowa?)

Columbia has two insurance firms; Iowa City has the folks who create and score the high school ACT tests.

There might be some virtue for the administrations of the two cities to compare notes. Geographic and traffic conditions at Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) aren't at all like those at University of Iowa and MU.

(Report Comment)

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