Off campus college students can look forward to more upscale housing availabilities starting next year.
As a part of the College Park housing initiative, Hillsdale College trustee and Michigan builder Thomas Duke has taken it upon himself to build and fund a townhouse complex on the corner of West and College streets.
Duke said he wants to provide more modern off-campus housing for students and friends of the college.
“I was disappointed with the housing on the south side of campus,” he said. “Students deserve better based on the recent trend of upscale housing in college towns across the country. I want to build something walkable and with an upscale experience.”
According to Duke, there will be six townhouses in the new complex. Four will fit eight students and two will fit five students. Every bedroom will be furnished. Additionally, each bedroom will have private bathrooms. Apartments will also include large kitchens and living areas.
“It will be everything a student would want,” Duke said. “You can move in, get to work, get to class quick and have privacy and a really nice environment.”
Chief Administrative Officer Rich Péwé said although the school is involved in promoting the building project, the houses will be considered off campus.
“The college will give no guarantees about filling any beds, but I suspect there will be great interest because of the location and quality,” he said.
Péwé added that the townhouses are an experiment, and if successful for the owners and the college, more will be built. This development could eventually benefit the city.
“Owners will pay Hillsdale City property taxes based on the value of the individual units,” Péwé said. “If they own it as their primary residence, the owner could qualify for the same tax abatement as residents on
Manning, however I do not think any owners will likely have it as their primary. As an investment property they will not qualify for the abatement and they will pay the .053 rate per $1,000.”
With regard to the housing project on Manning St., Péwé said the College is selling two more lots soon and hoping homes will go up within the next six months. The school is currently renting 201 Manning St., colloquially known as The Boardwalk, to Weigand Construction, which is building the new chapel. After that project is complete, the house will be knocked down to make way for the Manning St. project.
For now, Duke said he is excited to provide students with more comfortable off campus living arrangements.
“It’ll be a whole new experience that you really don’t have on or off campus right now,” he said.