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New Clubhouse and Outdoor Barbecue Sizzles at Slippery Rock University

University Village Slippery Rock's New Clubhouse

In today’s competitive student housing market, it takes a lot to stand out.  And when you are a private, off-campus housing community serving a fairly small college like Slippery Rock University, offering the latest, cutting-edge amenities 

to compete against the likes of Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania is a must.

The Preiss Company is getting high marks for the recent addition of an outdoor barbecue and a completely renovated clubhouse at its University Village Slippery Rock student housing community.  The off-campus project is owned and operated by Preiss, which contracted with Texas-based J4 Development to build the new amenity.

Adam Byrley, Director of Leasing & Programming for Preiss, remarked, “The previous clubhouse set-up didn't serve all of the needs for today's college student.  While it had some basic necessities, we wanted to focus our money on adding bells and whistles that would go above and beyond what was currently at the property and what was currently in the market.  Our plan called for rent increases over a three-year span, and we directed our capital project in the clubhouse with an intense focus on how to serve our residents, but also give them something they would want to pay premium rents for.”

The total clubhouse renovation cost $322,000.  Of that, approximately $113,000 went to the outdoor grill area.  J4 Development’s team managed to keep the integrity of the original building, while expanding the structure outward to add the outdoor amenity.  The interior portion now features La-Z Boy chairs, flat-screen TVs, pool tables, Wi-Fi Internet access, and fitness equipment.  The outdoor kitchen includes a gas grill and a smoker egg, along with a sunken hot tub with a waterproof plasma TV.

Brian Levy, head of New Business Development for Dallas-based J4, remarked, “Student housing is very competitive.  Parents are paying rent essentially, and they’ll look at as many as six or more campuses.  This kind of project is really going to make this particular college stand out.  That’s what it takes these days.  You can’t just offer Wi-Fi.”

By all accounts, the new addition has been received tremendously well.  “The residents absolutely love it and were amazed at the transformation,” noted Byrley.  How often is it used?  “All day, every day,” he said.  “It is amazing how heavily utilized the clubhouse space is, especially in a climate like western Pennsylvania.  It has truly become a gathering place for our residents to study, socialize, exercise, and have a great time with friends.”

He added, “It is becoming commonplace in a lot of student markets to have amenities like these.  Every new development is trying to go bigger and better than ever before.  There is nothing like this currently in Slippery Rock, which is one reason why our project has been so successful there.”

For others considering similar projects, both Byrley and Levy urged them to start planning now for next year.  “With student housing,” Levy noted, “the owners want to work on them in the summer when they are not occupied.  And they generally want them ready for the fall semester.”

By Teddy Durgin

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