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Luxury Housing Boom Transforms Student Life at University of Minnesota

Digested From “Luxury Housing Boom Transforms Student Life at U of M”
Minneapolis Star Tribune (06/15/13) Buchta, Jim

A generation of students in their early 20s is fueling a housing boom around the University of Minnesota, where mostly private developers are now building more than 2,500 upscale apartments. In addition, these developers have approvals for an additional 1,800 rental units. 

The new housing options are transforming area campus living, offering students such luxury amenities as heated garages and rooftop party rooms. Maxfield Research Group President Mary Bujold declares, "There has been a flight to quality." According to local apartment experts, the trend reflects changing demographics and higher expectations among young people.  Bujold adds that in the last 10 years, the number of campus commuters at the University of Minnesota has decreased 20 percent. For the most part, these students have been more than willing to sacrifice space for high-end amenities in well-appointed apartments near or on campus -- i.e. "shared luxury."  

Doran Companies is starting construction on its fifth and most ambitious student housing community in the market, an 11-story concrete and glass tower dubbed The Bridges. The building promises views of downtown Minneapolis, along with a yoga studio and an outdoor kitchen for its student residents.  It is on track to welcome its first residents in the fall of 2014.  

Meanwhile, competition for undeveloped sites near the University of Minnesota -- mostly surface parking lots -- is stiff. Consequently, the focus for most developers has been on finding redevelopment opportunities. That, however, can mean facing community opposition in tearing down existing buildings.

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