College Park Town­houses feature modern kitchens | Carmel Kookogey

The new town­homes on College and West street only have four res­i­dents, but according to Hillsdale College Park Town­homes manager Trevor Duke, ’08, they are already securing deposits for next year.

Con­struction on College Park Town­houses was com­pleted in the middle of the summer and is now cur­rently housing four res­i­dents. The duplex-style town­homes offer 1‑unit, 5‑unit and 8‑unit options, and a wide range of amenities, from air-con­di­tioning to dish­washers, and private bath­rooms for each bedroom.

“We really did try to go heavy on the amenities, we’re paying a pretty penny to be able to say we have the fastest internet on campus,” Duke said.

But because con­struction was com­pleted in mid­summer, the homes have seen smaller numbers than they would have liked.

“We fin­ished at exactly the wrong time. In the middle of summer, things were starting to look pretty, the drywall was up, the paint was on, but by then everyone had already made their arrange­ments for this semester,” Duke said.

The homes, which Duke said have been in the works for about five years, are geared towards stu­dents, with single-unit options ideal for trustees and vis­iting pro­fessors. The land is college-owned, but the homes are com­pletely sep­arate from the college.

“This is not college housing,” and is meant to be a higher-end living alter­native, he said.

“I was a student at Hillsdale from 2004 – 2008,” Duke said, “and we saw that there was not a lot of great student housing … There is a trend across the country with really high-end amenities-focused places, and there’s no reason Hillsdale shouldn’t have an offering like that.”

Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé con­firmed this.

“At one point in time there were quite a few homes that needed a lot of upkeep and care. And one thought was, if you could do some­thing that would enhance the approach to the campus and benefit the oper­a­tions of the campus, maybe it would be student housing, or pro­viding housing for people to be near the college at certain times during the year, than that would be a good thing to look into,” Péwé said.

He explained that in order to get the best return on investment, the College waited for a third party to conduct the exper­iment.

“One of the trustees was willing to take that risk, and build the first six units,” he said.

Senior Sabrina Barlow, who lives in the town­homes, pointed to per­sonal freedom as one of the key reasons she chose a townhome over a dor­mitory.

“I think it’s important at Hillsdale College, we’re sup­posed to be kind of self-gov­erning, and as a senior it was important for me def­i­nitely to go out and make sure that I could be self-gov­erning and capable … I’m gen­erally a fairly inde­pendent person, so to have my own space to relax and decom­press after classes is really nice,” she said.

She added that she likes having greater facility to entertain her friends now.

“You do your own thing, and as long as you’re not making a bunch of noise and being obnoxious, you’re on your own,” she said.

Despite some scep­ticism from stu­dents over the price of the town­homes, Péwé pointed out that the project greatly ben­efits the local economy.

“Depending on what they appraise at, and they were expensive for the trustee to build … it does provide a lot more taxable value than the row of houses that were there before,” he said. “I think it remains to be seen how they’re going to work finan­cially for the stu­dents, but after a semester we’ll know about that.”

Duke did say that plans are in the works to add five more townhome units down the row on West street, but they are waiting to see how College Park does before pro­ceeding.

“This is our first time testing the waters with the student housing demand here, and this is a very dif­ferent product,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to be fully occupied on day one, we could have timed the con­struction a little better, and we are eager to have stu­dents in here, but we’re not des­perate. We’re not going to do a fire sale, or any­thing like that.”