SG hosts Town Hall regarding UM-Dearborn student housing

BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor & ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Managing Editor

Student Government, Enrollment Management and Student Life, and Asset Campus Housing hosted a Town Hall Meeting, Monday, to discuss the new campus housing and the companies that are involved.

“This is the most transformational thing to happen on this campus,” said Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson, as he opened the forum.

Henderson mentioned that students would “kill for a Michigan degree but they also want a residential experience. Before, they would overlook Dearborn, but now there is a viable option.”

The Union at Dearborn is currently under construction/demolition across Evergreen Road. When finished, which is expected by Fall of 2013, Asset Campus Housing will manage the property. Both Henderson and Stuart Davis, who is the Vice President of Operations for Asset Campus Housing, made it very clear from the beginning that the project is a private development, and not affiliated directly with the university.

Urban Campus Communities (UCC), with backing from Huntington Bank, will privately develop and also manage the property. Asset Campus Housing, engaged a Houston-based management firm, was approached by UCC independently to manage the property once it is completed, in conjunction with them.

The University also had the authority to approve or deny ACH, as property managers, before anything was final. ACH, which is a branch of a privately owned company, Asset Plus Corporation. Davis said that Asset Campus Housing will act as a third party operator, meaning that they will operate under behalf of the owners. To put it simply, it’s like a rich guy buying a house, and hiring someone to take care of it for him.

“Going with a private developer saves the University $30 million as the state does not support campus housing,” said Henderson. “Urban Campus Communities is on the hook for the money.”

Asset Campus Housing manages over 50,000 beds in 26 states. They manage a variety of housing from high-rises, to garden style apartments. “I’m overwhelmed with excitement and enthusiasm that is surrounding this project,” Davis said.

The company will be hiring University of Michigan-Dearborn students beginning in the next few months, to work as Community Assistants in The Union at Dearborn. Community Assistant’s or CA’s are basically residential advisors who have more responsibilities within the campus community. CA’s will be compensated for bed space and receive a small monthly stipend. By working 14-18 hours/week, students will be compensated for the amount of rent, any hours above that will be paid minimum wage.

Davis discussed how the prices will be market driven, although influenced by other campuses, which is why it’s taking a bit longer to receive the pricing. Information on pricing should be released within the next 7-10 days, which is also when leasing will be available.

As far as leasing is concerned, there is a 10 or 12 month option, in which you can pay yearly, semesterly, or monthly. “Bed are on a first come, first serve basis,” said Davis. According to Lyndal Briscoe, regional marketing director of Asset Campus Housing, over 500 students have inquired about living in The Union.

It was determined that a pedestrian walkway must be in place by August of 2013. Accordingly, a pedestrian activated stoplight will be constructed across Evergreen, from The Union to the parking lot in front of the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters (CASL). In three to four years, a ramp walkway will be constructed next to the north end of The Union, going to the central entrance of the main campus. The ramp will cost $3-$4 million, which is on the bill of Wayne County.

From The Union to the University Center, it is a 4.5 minute walk. The shuttle will also stop at The Union along with the University Center, Administration Building and Fairlane Center. Those living in The Union at Dearborn, will have parking space on the eastern side of Evergreen however, they will not be allowed to park on main campus.

Henderson pointed out that although 500 students will be living across the street in the fall, there will be 8,500 students still commuting to campus. “We will never lose sight of the commuting students,” said Henderson.

For more information, including CA hiring, leasing information and renderings on The Union at Dearborn, visit www.unionatdearborn.com.

To see the original article that appeared in the fourth issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org

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