New apartments aim for luxury and affordability

The top floor of the Square on Fifth, the off-campus student housing in Midtown that plans on coming to the Georgia State University campus in Aug. 2019. Photo by Vanessa Johnson | The Signal

The famous gas station-turned-landmark facing the University Commons that satisfied midnight craving runs for students has closed its doors, and will give way to a luxurious new – and greatly needed – off-campus housing facility.

On Dec. 11, 2017, Suntrust Banks, Inc. rolled out a press release announcing they had closed a loan with South City Partners for the development of an off-campus student housing project.

The new apartments are estimated to open their doors to students in the fall of 2019 and will cost an estimated $90 million. 120 Piedmont will be located at 120 Piedmont Ave. NE at the intersection of John Wesley Dobbs Ave.

The housing will include amenities such as building-wide wifi, a “state of the art fitness center,” a rooftop study lounge/club room, an outdoor terrace, a “resort-style pool and clubhouse,” a spin/yoga studio, an outdoor grilling area, secured indoor bike storage, and a ground floor leasing office and lobby. A parking deck and on-site security are among other features students can expect to come from the project. Students can also expect approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space and a brand new, revamped gas station with an upscale convenience store or market.

The units will be fully furnished, which includes living room furniture, a television, a dining table, and a bed. Each unit will also include a washer and dryer and a balcony. The units in this dog-friendly community will not be available based on seniority, but instead on a “first come first serve” basis.

Turning to Georgia State

The development company said they are aware that students are looking for affordable, quality housing, and they plan on doing just that.

South City Partners has previously developed privately-owned housing near Georgia Tech University, The Square on Fifth(SQ5), which includes a variety of floor plans and amenities. Will Casaday, Vice President of Development at South City Partners, said they felt it was time to turn their attention to the surrounding Georgia State community.

He said that, while prices have not been decided on yet, the partners are considering quality, quantity and pricing that would best benefit the students of Georgia State. Cassaday said that they are making it on of their priorities to keep prices comparable, if not below, market price.

“In looking at Georgia State University, there was a need for the same quality project. It goes beyond a building – it is a community, truly an experience,” he said.

The architectural firm The Preston Partnership will be working on the project as well as JE Dunn Construction.
“We have worked with these companies a lot in the past, including Square on Fifth. By using them, we are able to make use of previous lessons learned in order to get an efficient project,” Sean Rosko, development manager at South City Partners said.

A variety of floor plans ranging from one to four bedrooms will be available, making the housing an option for a wide range of students with varying budgets.There will be room for about 685 students, which could reduce the amount of commuter students at Georgia State.

A better experience

Many of the university’s part-time and full-time students drive 30 minutes or more to get to campus. Like almost half of Georgia State’s population, student Fatema Momin commutes to save money and help out at home.

“For me to consider not commuting, there would need to be a student housing facility that offered more living space and a large outdoor area with tons of greenery and plants,” she said.

Casaday believes that other off-campus housing in the area has experienced challenges such as “unaddressed resident complaints and overlooked security features.” He believes that their “pride for professional management” and their strong values in regards to safety will set them apart from other existing facilities.

“It is hard for students to find well managed student housing. This will bridge the gap between amenities and safety that other communities provide, but give you the location that the dorms provide…the best of both worlds. State of the art access control systems and cameras will serve to make our project a desirable place to be,” said Casaday.

The initial conception of the project was two years ago and a major milestone was hit when the buildings onsight were torn down and fenced off in December 2017 right before students left for break. From this point, other major milestones will include pouring all the concrete, the delivery and completion of the shell, the final completion of the project, and the awaited end result– turnover for occupancy.

The South City Partners team does not see foresee any possible delays, and they are confident that the project will be complete and ready for occupancy by fall 2019.

The Signal spoke to Georgia State’s housing office, which earlier in 2017 had experienced an overflow of students they were unable to accomodate with private rooms. The office said that, while it’s a little too early to recognize the new apartments’ impact on the Georgia State community, it will meet a growing demand of students who wish to live on or closer to campus.

However, University Housing said, “There are no plans to build an on-campus residence hall in the immediate future, but we continue to evaluate the need for expansion.”

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