Company officials field questions from Rotary members
Jul. 16, 2014
Written by John Jarvis
The Marion Star
MARION — Demand for Marion campus student housing offers opportunities to more than one provider, said a representative of a company planning to build a 192-bed facility across from The Ohio State University at Marion and Marion Technical College.
Answering a local question from a member of the Marion Area Rotary, Rob Martinson, Annex Student Living vice president of development, said his company’s analysis estimates 250 to 275 students of the two-school campus are interested in housing.
Annex of Marion, which is scheduled to break ground Sept. 1 and open to students the first week of August 2015, will have 192 beds, consisting of 54 units including 12 two-bedroom, one-bath units and 42 four-bedroom, two-bath units. It will be on a 3-acre property along University Drive just north of the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center across Mount Vernon Avenue from the Marion campus.
While anyone can apply for housing at the complex, “our marketing” is focused on students, Martinson said, including eventually a dean’s list incentive program by which resident students will be able to earn a “gift card or some other type of incentive for good grades.”
The complex will include an “innovative clubhouse,” which will house a large kitchen, fitness studio and group study lounge along with other amenities. Outdoor community amenities such as a sand volleyball court, corntoss, a barbecue area and parking will be available. Rent will be less than $500 per bed for the living units, which will be furnished and include utilities, he said.
Kim Cory, Annex Student Living president, who also attended the Rotary meeting at the Marion Palace Theatre May Pavilion, said student surveys received by her company showed Marion campus students sought economic efficiency in housing more than any other feature.
The Indianapolis-based company has four other student housing projects at Indiana University regional campuses in Kokomo and South Bend, Indiana; Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana; and Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. The company also is acquiring a student housing project at Ohio State’s Lima campus.
Cory said research has shown that students living in campus housing excel academically, have a higher graduation rate, have an expanded social life, commute shorter distances and have less expense and gain increased access to campus and student organizations.
Asked if the company has sought to have a pedestrian bridge over Mount Vernon Avenue (Ohio 95 East) or shuttle service included as part of the project, Martinson said it had not, expecting improvements associated with the pending construction of a University Drive extension across the west side of the Marion campus to include improved pedestrian and bicycle “connectivity.”
Dave Claborn, OSUM director of community relations and development, said construction of the University Drive extension is scheduled to begin in October. An OSUM board vote on construction of a new science and engineering building is set for August.
Asked about any relationship between Annex of Marion and the Harding Centre, which offers student housing downtown, Cory said, “Any competition’s good competition. ... It just helps foster and indicate reasons why a student should pick OSU Marion.”
She said university students looking for housing want proximity not only to the school they’re attending, but also to shopping and employment opportunities, and noted Annex of Marion’s location is within several yards of retailers such as Wal-Mart.
Martinson said the company didn’t have any data to demonstrate the economic effect student housing has on a community in which it exists, adding, “Hopefully the initial investment becomes a big economic driver.”
Responding to another Rotarian’s inquiry as to the length of time it would take Annex Student Living to recoup its investment on the student housing project, Martinson said, “We anticipate keeping this in our portfolio for a long time.”